Blending folk pastoralism with swampy 60s Americana, psych folk band The Hanging Stars sound like the missing link between the California desert sun and the grey skies of London Town. The album was recorded between LA, Nashville and Walthamstow, with each of these vastly different places leaving an indelible mark on the songs. Their debut album Over the Silvery Lake came out in March 2016.
The Hanging Stars are essentially a loose collective of people who weave together a blissed-out psychedelic tapestry. The core band is made up of songwriter, singer and guitarist Richard Olson (The See See, Eighteenth Day of May), Sam Ferman on bass and Paulie Cobra on drums, also featuring Patrick Ralla (The Alan Tyler Show) on banjo, guitar and assorted instruments. Pedal steel comes courtesy of Horse (Dan Michaelson and The Coastguards) and Joe Harvey White.
A delightful, transporting listen.
– The Times 4*s
A promising debut from London’s The Hanging Stars, who switch deftly between deliciously sentimental Americana and swaggering psychedelia.
A truly beautiful record.
– Louder than War
A hazy, desert-dream of a song, nicely sharpened with steely-eyed guitars, Mersey-laced harmonies and just a whiff of the Gun Club.
Swampy psychedelia that recalls the Medway Delta as much as the Mississippi, the band’s new single neatly conjoins these influences.
The one with a man with a horse’s head in it.
So there we were having the team photo with Louis Gordon and The Hanging Stars on the steps at the back of The Wightman when all of a sudden this guy stumbles in wearing a plastic horses head, he was a little unstable. Louis was all up for a scene from the Godfather being re-enacted but the guys form The Hanging Stars were more forgiving, especially as they have a horse of their own.
After the sound check and a few sips of Lemon Dream the atmosphere began to build. Not even the last minute fixing of toilet doors could dampen the spirit. As the audience began to roll in we sensed a special night was about to take place. Haydn T, Mister DJ-tastic as we call him, tuned in his ‘vibes’ ear and got us underway with some ‘tunes’. The bar was filling and the beasts were mingling.
Louis Gordon is eclectic, perhaps a little eccentric, multi-instrumental, multi-talented and a fisherman to boot! He interwove sounds like a 5 star Michelin chef would interweave flavours, we dribbled and salivated over cascading keyboards, drizzled with sweet vocals on a nutty base. Was it one long song with a fishing narrative or a medley of social commentary set to music? I’ll never be sure. Which would come first, sunrise or the end of Louis’s set? Louis had us all singing along to his final number ‘Black Spot’ and exited stage left to thunderous applause.
Back over to you Haydn T. As the interval unfolded it appeared the bar was indeed being drunk dry, thirsty lot Shrewsbury gig-goers, Kate ‘the great, the great Kate (Walshy) was sent on a mission to re-stock the dry bar with a bunch of fivers in her sweaty little paw. I know we all cheered, inwardly at least, as more beer appeared.
Chairman Moose had it all under control. The barmaids Lou and Lindsay kept the Lemon Dream flowing. (Salopian Brewery might want to sponsor me?) And as the lights dimmed and our wonderful techie Izzy MacIzzy of the MacIzzy clan gave me the thumbs up, that brought tears to my ears that did…Bison climbed on stage for another of his 4 letter expletive rants of an introduction. “Fresh from supporting the wonderful Teenage Fan Club and on their way to the Liverpool Psych Festival the fucking brilliant, give them a massive Salopian welcome, ladies and gentlebeasts…The Hanging Stars”. Naughty Bison, who taught him language like that!
Their set opened with the tight and expansive in one Floodbound from their excellent new album ‘Over The Silvery Lake’. They have been described as Byrdsian by none other than Chris ‘the badger’ Taylor and you could feel yourself transported back to 60’s Cali as they tore into Cure Your Ills and I’m no Good Without You.
Golden Vanity was the first song I heard from The Hanging Stars and to see them perform it live, brought the many thousand hairs on the back of my neck bristled with excitement. The set came to a close with Crippled Shining Blues and Running Waters Wide, rolling out their psychedelic roots like a summer blanket under a willow tree. They were brought back for a rapturous encore, but not before I’d ask Rich, the lead singer to call last order at the bar. The evening concluded with The House on The Hill, my favourite, I felt the spirits of Sonny and Cher move within me and I collapsed in a ball of ecstatic confusion at their feet. We drained the dregs of Lemon Dream and swept the floor and Moose patted the hairy heads as they made their sweaty way to the door, before closing on another wonderful Chairhousepresents night.
Well done Louis, The Hanging Stars and the beasts!
Photos From The Event – Courtesy of Mr Paul Fuller
Photos From The Event – Courtesy of Mr Roberto Biffarini