Geoff Hansplant & Dirt Track Racer’s new album, Kick Off Your Muddy Boots, reaches the listener simultaneously through the feet and ears, making a bee-line for the heart. Blending traditional forms of Americana with latin rhythms, jazz voicings, classical strings and Piedmont style guitar, Dirt Track Racer creates an irresistible groove and weaves upon it stories of loves found, lost, yearned for, mourned over and kicked to the curb. The official release date for the album is January 13, 2014, and we’d like to get the songs into your hands and ears for your consideration.
Perhaps it is the intergenerational nature of the band, or the fact that the individual members’ influences embrace so many different genres, but their sound is definitely their own. Geoff Hansplant handles most of the vocals and lays down intricate Piedmont style Country blues licks and riffs on his favorite Lowden guitar and some electric work on his old Gretsch Tennessean. Paul Deck handles all of the percussion, switching effortlessly between jazz, rock, blues, Latin and N’awlins second line styles. Nick Terramani shapes the underlying harmonies on both electric and upright bass and Julie Myers does the rest, be it jazz violin, grand piano, Hammond B3 or vocals.
Their new set starts with the invitational, “Kick Off Your Muddy Boots,” a rollicking, foot stomping number driven by Geoff’s intricately woven guitar and Paul’s Latin rhythm, while Julie’s sinuous B3 glues it together. A stripped down and open feel of acoustic guitar, violin and congas sets the groove for “Delilah,” while Nick’s upright bass adds a rich underpinning to this modern take on the original obsessive love story. Latin percussion and Julie’s jazz violin accentuate the otherwise bluesy “Already Gone,” creating an almost acoustic Santana experience, “Twilight Train” and, later, “Rain in My Coffee” relate haunting tales of lives and loves lost while “Bucket Full of Rain” rises up and delivers the Americana goods with an unmistakable 1960‘s Memphis soul groove. Paul’s second line drumming kicks “Dead Man’s Shoes” into gear and drives it against Geoff’s deft guitar and Julie’s Bayou bluesy violin. The Piedmont blues gets a new jazz groove on “Eliza Jane,” Geoff’s song of love for the mystery that is all women. “Traces of Caroline” offers another, darker view of obsessive love that is a smoky, bluesy excursion that might not be out of place in a Ray Charles set. “I Ain’t Sayin’” tells the story of the lingering effects of a love gone south with an insistent sexy drive that is the hallmark of Dirt Track Racer. Then, the softest song on the album, “Fool Enough To Fall In Love,” sets the stage for getting back into that same ol’ can of worms. The album proper ends with a song of hope for the power of love, “From This Moment On,” featuring Julie and Geoff in a vocal and instrumental duet while Paul and Nick rock the groove.
As a bonus track, we have added a Christmas song (also available separately at AirPlay Direct as “Home For Christmas” in two versions and with a PSA from the band) called “Home For Christmas,” a bossa nova sounding duet between Geoff and Julie.
We're glad to have you for spend some time with Dirt Track Racer, getting to know us and our music. We hope you’ll agree that this ain’t yer old man’s Americana. We sweat the details musically and lyrically and the results speak for themselves. This is music to move your body and move your mind.
So, from Geoff, Julie, Paul and Nick, thank you for listening to our work. We hope you'll find a home for it in your playlists.
Here is a review of the album, from INsite Entertainment Magazine (Atlanta):
GEOFF HANSPLANT & DIRT TRACK RACER
Kick Off Your Muddy Boots (Twilight Tango)
Americana with a much-needed twist.
LVS Granted, Geoff Hansplant isn’t a household name yet. But, with the aid of his band Dirt Track Racer, the Philadelphia-based singer-songwriter takes traditional forms of Americana and adds delicious Latin rhythms, tricky jazz and classical flavors, narrating the ups and downs of the human condition. As expected, Hansplant is up front with his vocals and Piedmont-injected guitar, with Julie Myers adding violin, piano, organ and vocals. The result is a much-needed fresh take on the musty mountain that is Americana. Opening with the title track, an irresistible rocker, the set includes a number of worthwhile highlights. The bare-bones, primitive desires of “Delilah” mesh well with the spicy percussion that punctuates the plaintive blues grind of “Already Gone.” The true centerpiece of the set, the effervescent “Bucket Full of Rain,” delivers Americana with a funky, Stax-tinged swagger. Hansplant, like many artists before him, seems determined to detail the many moods of love. And with “Eliza Jane” and “From This Moment On,” he tackles two very different sides of that often-confounding emotion, deftly expressing the mercurial joys of the pursuit. Overall, it’s a very solid debut.