Hallow Dog – Good Fight

Hallow Dog hails from the storied town of Woodstock, New York with a pastoral, acoustic-based Americana sound to match. The distinctive voice of lead vocalist/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist John Holt is at the core of every tune with tasteful accompaniment by drummer Chris Morgan, bassist Julian Bender, and pedal steel guitarist Jon Light. At first listen, one might draw comparisons to American jam and roots-rock acts like Widespread Panic, Dave Matthews Band, Little Feat and the Grateful Dead. However, sonically speaking, additional elements like plentiful Pedal Steel, Mandolin, Fiddle, and Dobro place the material squarely in the old-time Americana tradition.

Themes of love, longing, addiction, and redemption make for fairly standard subject matter, but Holt’s unique delivery and turn of phrase make Good Fight worth additional listens. Some of the more intriguing moments are when Hallow Dog stray from the laid-back strum-alongs and take a slightly angular and dissonant turn as they do on “Real Bad Funk” and “Ghost.” Other highlights include when Hallow Dog capture the vibe of vintage Little Feat on the steel and mandolin-laced tunes “Madman” and “Mandolin Priestess,” then bring it all back home with beautiful, sustaining pedal steel on the album closer, “Borderline.” By eschewing fancy production techniques and the extended, improvisatory instrumental solos that are commonplace in the jam-rock genre, Hallow Dog manage to sidestep many of the pitfalls that can distract from well-crafted songs and more subtle ideas. On Good Fight, Hallow Dog have created an inviting set of songs; one that would surely please fans of rock, folk, jam, and more, while still crafting a fresh sound that’s firmly rooted in classic American songwriting traditions.