The Royal Hounds
Southgate House Revival, 111 E 6th St, Newport, KY
8pm doors 9pm show, Buy Tickets
If you are familiar with The Royal Hounds then you know that they play quirky, in-your-face, roots rock and roll driven by a wild front man with a stand-up bass. You can now add to that tagline, “And a Brazilian kid who can play guitar like Brent Mason and Johnny Hiland.”
Scott Hinds, the aforementioned front man, has spent the last two years getting a work visa for guitarist, Matheus Canteri to move to America from Brazil. Hinds found Canteri when he came across a video that Canteri made that went viral. The video, “Truck Drivin’ Man: A Tribute to the Don Kelly Band and His Guitar Heroes” features the guitarist tearing his way through country-rock licks at breakneck speed. The video was shared extensively between Nashville musicians and found its way into one of Hinds’ social media feeds. “Initially I thought I was going to audition other guitarist in America,” Hinds told Blank News, “I just couldn’t find anybody better than him. He came up and was such an amazing player. He’s dedicated his entire life to studying this American way of playing and that’s why he wanted to come to America to play.”
In December the US Government deemed him as having “an extraordinary talent” and he was granted his visa. Low Class Songs For High Class People is the first Royal Hounds album to feature Matheus Canteri, although he’s played live with the band for the past couple of years. “All our albums groove and rock,” Hinds acknowledged, “but this one kicks it up to a new level. In the past, it was the songs that shined most with our albums. This time the guitar work is equally as essential as the songs. There’s a reason we worked tirelessly for two years to bring him to America. I would put Matheus toe-to-toe with any Nashville super picker you could throw at him.”
Canteri fits right in with the live show, as well. Hinds has always been an entertainer and is known for putting on a heck of a live show. When Hinds lays his bass down, Canteri will jump up on it and shred guitar. The two will trade instruments during the show and intertwine limbs while playing, among other stage antics. It’s the sort of show that is so visually impressive and with strong musical chops; you can’t not pull out your phone to start filming. “It’s an actual thing at our shows,” Hinds admits.
Scott Billingsley is the drummer on the record, but the band has recently welcomed a new drummer into the fold, Nathan Place. Place is originally from Denton, Texas and studied viola performance at Loyal University in New Orleans. He’s toured internationally as a fiddle player and drummer and also produces records out of his studio, BluVolt Sounds. He found himself in Nashville 6 months ago where Hinds scooped him up. Billingsley decided to retire after 8 years, but sits in whenever the band plays in his hometown of Knoxville.
Luckily, the energy and fun of this live trio translates to record on Low Class Songs for High Class People. “The world has so many introspective bands that we try to give people a much needed break from real life,” stated Hinds. “My goal in writing these songs was to get people dancing, singing along, and keep the party moving.”
Kicking it off with tongue fully in cheek is the song, “The Walk” that is a take on the old tradition of releasing a song that introduces the new ‘dance-fad’. Except, this is an anti-dance-fad song dedicated to those who can’t dance. “The Parthenon” continues the dance theme with a song that was written by Hinds to inspire people to dance in a circle Russian or Greek-style. “It works!” claims Hinds, “The sound of the tune causes people to do it!
“Pororoca” is named after an annual phenomenon that happens on the Amazon River where a giant wave makes its way down the full length of the River and people go out and try to ride the wave. “What better way to celebrate our guitarist’s homeland than a surf song about surfing the Amazon?” asks Hinds.
“Road Scholar” plays on the long history of truck driving songs in country music history. “I love the idea of someone who dreamt of being the world’s greatest trucker and in quitting school he chose to study, in-depth, all the roads in the U.S.,” said Hinds. “He did eventually become a scholar, just of a different kind. This is a tribute to all of the people who didn’t go to college, but make this country run.”
“Herbie the Butterfly” is a true story of a butterfly that was caught on the band’s windshield wiper and rode the entire tour with them. The band gave him a whole backstory about his dreams, his family, and what butterfly heaven might look like. The album ends with a cover of “Ghost Riders in the Sky”, the number one requested cover for the band, as their version is pretty out there. The band made it a bonus track as a thank you to their fans.
Although the band counts the rockabilly audience as a part of their fans, their music has its own unique sound that can’t be pigeonholed. “I love pushing the boundaries of the roots rock and roll genre,” admits Hinds. “Too often modern day early rock and roll bands have one sound and look to other bands in the genre for inspiration. I try to look to strange, out-there genres when I want to write. I’d rather listen to Russian circus music or The Buena Vista Social Club.”
“We just want to bring people joy,” Hinds declared. “We love to entertain. Nothing thrills me more than to look out at a sea of people smiling, dancing, singing our songs and having a great time. Everyone has burdens in life, but if we can be the ones to help them escape from that, well, THAT is where we get our fulfillment.”