MUSIC REVIEW- Lovin' it: Horn delivers, Hacks do too
Published June 16, 2005 in issue 0424 of the Hook
Matt Horn's Funk Factory
at Orbit Billiards
Saturday, June 11
The Hackensaw BoysLove What You Do (Nettwerk)
I love music. I love it so much that I will do just about anything for it. I listen to the radio, watch videos, buy records, download them, trade and buy bootlegs. I read about it, study it, think and dream about it. I work at the Music Resource Center teaching it to kids, write about it in this paper, and talk about it with my friends. It's just what I do. Did I mention I love it?
Saturday I hit the Corner district to see a couple of my favorites jam at Orbit. Matt Horn's Funk Factory was laying down serious heat when I arrived. Matt Horn blew open doors in this town years ago with a sensational local band, The Secret. Since then he's recorded amazing singles as the hip hop/soul group MLK and performed as part of The Chocolate Workshop and the X-Porn Stars.
The Funk Factory consists of father-to-all-Charlottesville-drummers Johnny Gilmore, Bassist Houston Ross (former Tim Reynolds bassist, Wonderband member, and touring/recording bass man for Corey Harris), soul god Ezra Hamilton, and Andy Roland, whose list of collaborations is too long to tackle in this article.
The performance was awe inspiring. They ran through originals, jammed on covers, invited up guests to perform and downright rocked the stage. When I watch them I see something that I see in myself: musicians who are consumed by their craft, who breathe it and make love to it as if it were something tangible, something that can be held onto.
But you can't keep it. You just let it go and hope someone else picks up the vibe. And when it's right, people do. Saturday night it was right. They played past last call, and no one (give or take a staff member or two) minded a bit.
When I got home, there was a package waiting for me. Inside was a copy of the new Hackensaw Boys CD. The Hacks are another ensemble that just get the job done. They have, for longer than I can remember, played Charlottesville and toured until they were road sick, only to go back out again.
They've compiled a group of studio tracks recorded over the last four years that just lit up my whole next day. The album, Love What You Do, is a kaleidoscope of Americana. The toe-tapping raucous tunes set you up, and the soul-stirring ballads knock you down. This album raises the bar of excellence for what these guys are capable of to an extreme height.
Beyond the musicianship, which is trump tight, the lyrics of the songs are pure poetry no matter which down home style they choose to deliver them. They're kind of like roving journalists, reporting on life as they see it: life through music, music that is life, a life they love. That fact is abundantly clear on Love What You Do.
The Hackensaw Boys love what they do, and they do it very, very well.
Matt Horn's Funk Factory
PHOTO BY DAMANI HARRISON