Welcome to the Midnight Opry [KLP236] is the third full-length album by The Pine Hill Haints. It’s a burning tumbleweed headed straight for an open field in the middle of a dry summer; bright, dangerous, vast, and blistering. Laid out before you is a full rotation of snazzed-up, working class ghost-country. The contradiction allows you to mentally wander from one track to the other on an emotional journey from the range to the rock show, whatever you want to make of it within those parameters, that’s what it is.
The Pine Hill Haints consciously aimed to go further with their sound on Welcome to the Midnight Opry by taking something familiar and remodeling it into something fierce and new. Here they add calypso, quick bursts of hip-hop and blues, and the illegal and somewhat dangerous essence of the wild, runaway street kid skateboarding scene that brought them all together.
Originally from Alabama, The Pine Hill Haints formed in the late ‘90s and have since released two full-length albums, both on K. Lead singer James Barrier is a sight to be seen at their live shows (of which they play many) poised tall and dandy behind his homemade wooden microphone stand. He’s backed by a family of a band that provides honey toned instrumentation through the use of fiddle, banjo, bucket bass, accordion – and of course the standard: guitar.
For this release, the band recorded at Dial Back Sound Studio in Water Valley Mississippi on 2-inch tape. The tracks were recorded live in one night, and then mixed the other night; the end result is anything but slapdash; it takes years of practice to become this quick on the draw.