It only takes 3 hours from New York City to New Albany as the Boeing flies, but the two cities couldn’t be further apart. Straight from the airport, I’m brought into a colonial mansion, handed a styrofoam cup of gin and introduced to the four human treasures that practice their craft in its living room.
Houndmouth is Shane, Zak, Katie and Matt, harmony marksmen, multi-instrumentalists, all gifted storytellers and quick with a joke. They are a musical family with ample rewards for anyone who digs into their unique take on the American song. We spend our day exploring the riverside, all abandoned train tracks and tornado tossed boats and boxcars, until we settle into the shale-rich beachfront and Shane’s favorite nook under the bridge.
They are an encyclopedia of old songs, one leads to the other in straight series, no one member knowing all the lyrics but another willing to chide and carry the tune to the next stop. We head to the bar where half the young population of New Albany has taken up shop, all of about 12 of them. PBRs are 75 cents, and the pool table is drenched in the same. They each trade off on a free-throw shooting carnival game that each has conceivably held the high score in at some. The times are easy, and the drinks are copious. There is no regard for tomorrow’s responsibilities because, no matter the immensity of the hangover, the music is infectious and heartfelt enough to overcome the encumbrance.
Houndmouth makes songs to relate to the high times, the lows, everything in between. If you’re ever in Louisville, don’t hesitate to roll down the hill and cross the river to New Albany, you’ll find your way easily enough.