Soddy-Daisy’s Dallas Hollow defines “metalbilly” with style and substance
Is it a large town? Is it a small city? What exactly is Chattanooga, relatively speaking? I came here from Louisville, Kentucky over twenty years ago and there is no question, Chattanooga is smaller than the place I left (about half the size, population-wise) but after two decades I don’t know that one could fairly call Chattanooga small. There are many metrics by which one might judge such a thing.
One that matters to me in particular is that no matter how many bands I have written about (one to two a week for the last three years now) I never run short. There is always something new and interesting going on. And this week’s featured group is a great example of that. They’re called Dallas Hollow, they’re based out of Soddy-Daisy, and they’re not what you’d expect, no matter what you might think.
The band is essentially a power trio with Zach Ward on vocals and lead guitar, Jordan May on drums, and Nocona Watts on bass. On their social media profile the band has the good grace to give a nod to Devin Mallory as their promoter, as well as Travis Whittenburg, Noah Wulf and Shawn Smith, who are listed as “roadies, muscle and security.” Woe to the unscrupulous bar owner that tries to stiff this group at the end of the night.
The band self-describes as rockabilly and there’s no doubt that’s at the heart of it all, but I have to go a step further and say that the searing distortion of Ward’s guitar and the bright, ringing pop of May’s snare lead me to dub it “metalbilly”. I was almost pleased at coining that term until 15 seconds of GoogleFu revealed that, alas, it’s already a thing. It may not be “my” word, but I stand by it as an apt description of the band’s sound.
Although there’s an EP in the works and a fair amount of live footage of performances from some familiar locales (including Ziggy’s Underground), to date the band has a single recording, the original tune, “Blue.” It was this tune that led me to the metalbilly designation because the song in terms of chords, structure, tempo and melody, is pure vintage. Played with different instruments (or rather, the same instruments with different tone) it could be a fine example of a “crooner tune” from the late fifties.
The contrast between every other element of the song, and the tone of the instruments playing it is unexpected and surprisingly fresh and fun and it suggests great potential in the band’s upcoming release. The seeming dichotomy of the band is personified in Ward himself as his axe fairly drips with heavily saturated overdrive while his vocals are clear, distinct and melodic. It’s an interesting combination of flavors that makes me look forward to hearing the band’s upcoming disc.
The band has been together for right around two years which makes it a fairly young affair, though not green by any means. As more gigging opportunities present themselves, I expect the fellows will not only refine their ingenious approach, they’ll push the boundaries even further, challenging conventional notions of vintage and metal.
An upcoming show at JJ’s Bohemia with Inaeona and Lion’s Daughter on July 11th is the perfect opportunity to hear what they’re all about. In the meantime, Dallas Hollow can be found in the usual places, including Facebook and Reverbnation.