Album Review

Ready To Rock With Hound Dogs

John Patrick Halling & The Outside Voices - Hound Dogs

Have you heard the news, there is some good rockin' talent found within the explosive sound of John Patrick & The Outside Voices.  Recently featured in the No Depression Spring magazine "Heartland", this five piece wrecking crew just released their debut album Hound Dogs and wrapped up a barnstorming tour through the Ohio and Tennessee valley. The ensemble has come a long way in the last twelve months as a band with open roads ahead to build on their ever growing fan base.

A charismatic performer, John Patrick Halling began his musical journey in 2013 as a solo performer doing open mics while paying the rent as a warehouse worker after attending Kent State University.  He had recorded a few full band arraignments for his 2015 solo debut Boy In The Water resulting into the blossoming of the next chapter.  Halling knew Jimmy Dykes, (guitar), Johnny Miller (guitar), Kevin McManus (bass), and Sam Langstaff (drums) for a long time as they played in other bands as The Outside Voices formed to perform their first live show at Musica in January of 2016 as part of Brent Kirby’s Akron 10×3.  By June, the boys traveled to Amish Electric Chair Studios as a destination recording trip with producer and engineer Neil Tuuri.  Located on 4 acres of hillside in Athens, Ohio, they camped out on the land capturing the energy of their surroundings and channeling it within the studio.  “I hate hearing stories about bands going into the recording studio who feel the environment is sterile and awkward,” says Tuuri. “That wasn’t the case with these guys and you can hear that in the songs. I like to let the bands I work with do their own thing and be themselves, but still work their asses off.”  Taking some liberties with the rigid rules of tracking a record, Halling adds “The whole idea was trying to capture the songs as a moment in time. We were playing out pretty frequently, we found our groove, and we wanted to make an event of it. It was definitely the most fun any of us have had making a record.” 

           

Self-produced from a portion of the band’s gig money, the ten tracks comprising Hound Dogs were written by Halling that follow a theme of chasing after things we desire and all the vices that come with it.  Fittingly, the lead track “Old Habits” sets the tone as the triple guitar driven band rocks out on a song about getting into trouble while out on the town.  “Answering Machine” is a catchy tune about folks who creep back into your life when you least expect them after you’ve persevered to let go of those ties.  “Pull Me Under” is another emotional song touching on the feeling of being suffocated by the stresses of life. “Hound Dogs” was one of the first songs the band worked on as a group.  Halling notes “Using it as the title track is very fitting. It was a first indication to all of us that we enjoyed playing together and worked well together, and it’s one of the songs I’m most proud of.”  Halling shows a softer side with “Sweet Kimberly” and a pinch of the Ryan Adams / Whiskeytown influence that touches the heart of this new generation of troubadours while “One Million Ways” is a driving high pace number about the nightmare of “outside voices”.

Writing songs from life experiences is part of the songwriter’s craft and Halling expresses his journey through songs on this record like “Down in the Valley” which was written during a two month period living out of his car while traveling cross-country after college graduation.  Many listeners will relate to “Getting’ High”, a jangly blues laced anthem of self-medication over a broken relationship.  The back story to “One of These Days” is a song Halling penned for his sister’s wedding as a narrative of what he may say one day to his future life-partner.  The last song Halling wrote for the record was “Terrible Feelings” is based on a true story when he drove to visit a friend in New York City.  One that tends to fall in love easily; Halling meets a girl and has a weekend romance not realizing he had fallen into that trap again until the drive home.

For more on artists in this region, check out Believeland - A Roots Music Renaissance Simmers Just Under The Surface in Northeast Ohio in the Spring 2017 edition of No Depression magazine