Hovvdy | Pooneh Ghana
Photo credit: Pooneh Ghana
Joe Day
Joe Day

To write about the people, places, and experiences on offer in this beautiful place is some of the most fun I’ve had in my short life, and I am always excited for the future of music in the South-West I’m a sucker for acts from far-off lands, but home is where the heart is right?

Soft, supple and sweet, it’s no surprise that Texas duo Hovvdy hold such a significant fanbase under their belts as they come to the release of their fourth album. Over the course of their career, a gentle underbelly has been exposed in their music, something lying on the emotional spectrum that goes untouched in day to day life: a warm melancholic breeze edged with friendly waves from a distance, a gratifying embrace from a long lost friend, a lightness that can always be found when sifting through a box of collected memoirs stored beneath your bed. This is unequivocally represented in ‘True Love, the title track taken from the upcoming album, poised for release on October 1st 2021 via Grand Dury.

T-R-U-E L-O-V-E were the words impulsively written sometime last year at the top of what is now the dream-like single fronting Hovvdy‘s newest LP. Bearing a new found folkiness that gently lays atop the airiness of the track’s mix, courtesy of Andrew Sarlo (Bon Iver, Big Thief), the track is akin to that grateful sigh of relief let out of your lungs when stepping out into the silky summer air. The comfortable tones of a classical guitar cling warmly to the center of the soundscape, glittering glimpses of light shimmering in the air above with smooth, earthy percussion marking the dusty track the song walks along. The easy going, chin-up attitude Hovvdy are revered for comes through stronger than ever in the velvety southern twang found in the vocals, pulling the package together without overbearingly shoving any one point or tone.

An unequivocal joy permeates from the warm mixture of moments found in the music video twinning the single. Charlie Martin and Will Taylor come off more as brothers than bandmates, grinning from ear to ear as they dance and drive their way through the silky summery scenes, sometimes stopping for a pause of breath to relax, perform and ground the energy of their music. There’s nothing but love existing throughout the whole piece, acting as a comfort that all will turn out fine: all worries and woes within the circles of the ones you love are nothing but temporary, kinks in the road are only tests of your dedication to the people that mean the most. From the looks, the Hovvdy duo understand this to a tee.

Circumstances surrounding the album only pick the poignance of the lead single’s track up to higher heights. Since the release of their 2019 album ‘Heavy Lifter’, both Martin and Will Taylor have married their partners; Taylor also becoming a father since then. This step forward in life is intrinsically linked to the tone and terms of the newest album, acting as an insight and exploration of all manner of relationships in life – familial, romantic, friendly – and the desire we all share to capture them in a bottle, hold them close, keep them safe. The song shares this elemental outlook with peace, a mellow melodic mush of love, care and compassion. It’s the epitome of the title’s on-the-nose implication.

For each Hovvdy record there’s always been a song that kinda shocks my system, kinda jolts me into a brand new and inspired place. This was definitely that song for me,” says Martin of the title track. “I remember writing it and feeling a rush of excitement — crying a lot honestly. it feels so good to express love and appreciation when you really fucking mean it. but it’s hard to feel worthy of love, of something so rare, and all we can do is try to measure up — that’s what that last part is all about.

Sarlo‘s trusted guidance as producer on the album/track allowed Martin and Taylor to spread their wings without judge nor jury to stop them in their tracks and choke their aspirations. Acoustic guitars, upright pianos and keyboards stand as the foundation for the whole LP, pedal steel and dobro additions by long time collaborator Ben Littlejohn providing the subtle drawl that gladly smooths out the final product.

“Sarlo heard things in our individual production styles that we might otherwise feel self-conscious about, but he would lean into them,” says Martin. “We knew we could come in with a very stripped-down acoustic guitar song and it would end up being expansive and vast. I felt really confident in letting this record be as tender and beautiful as we could make it, knowing there would always be a layer of darkness in there.”

Due to swing into sight later this year, there’s no doubt as to how wonderful the release of the full album will really be. With a god-tier producer at the help, true talent in the duo’s songwriting and performative capabilities and a heady heart holding the whole body of work up above the clouds, it’s clear that something special sits in this newest release.

“It’s about resiliency and appreciating the little moments, even when the big picture can be daunting,” says Will. “I’m proud of how we let the songs and the feeling of the record do the work for us. Even in sombre moments, the joy behind the music is noticeable, and that’s what makes it special to me.”

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