Bio

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Hillfolk Noir’s What’s That Hat For? and Hillfolk frontman Ward’s Jump Ups & Jollities are available in a variety of formats — both albums on CD and digital, while What’s That Hat For? also was pressed on limited-edition 180-gram vinyl. Physical copies may be purchased at The Record Exchange and Hillfolk Noir/Travis Ward shows. The albums are available digitally at facebook.com/hillfolknoir and iTunes.
What’s That Hat For? was recorded with Jon and Jude Mullin at the Ozark Missile Studio (Jon Mullin also recorded Hillfolk Noir’s 2012 album Hillfolk Noir Radio Hour). Following the conceptual Radio Hour, the band took a minimalist approach to the Hat sessions, cutting 26 tracks with the Mullins, 14 of which are featured on what Ward calls Hillfolk Noir’s “favorite record to date.”
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“I’ve known Jon Mullin for as long as I’ve been serious about music and look up to him as a friend and artist,” Ward says. “The studio was a large room with vaulted ceilings, stove and wood floors. Jon had really great microphones and preamps and a sweet old half-inch reel-to-reel. We filled up three tapes and were stunned by the sound of the raw audio — warm and clear.”
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“Less is more” also characterized the three sessions for Jump Ups and Jollities, a traditional blues-folk solo album recorded at Steve Fulton’s Audio Lab. Each of the album’s bare-bones songs features Ward and a lone instrument, created “with deep forests and high mountains on my mind,” he says. 
With new music and a sizable original songbook in tow, Hillfolk Noir will head overseas in June for its second UK tour in as many years, performing a string of dates throughout England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. 
ABOUT HILLFOLK NOIR
Fronted by singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Travis Ward, Hillfolk Noir is a trio of neo-traditionalists playing traditional music on traditional instruments for non-traditional times. They call it Junkerdash, and it’s a sound brewed from folk, bluegrass, punk, string-band blues and other influences musical and otherwise. Recommended pairings: Drinking and dancing.
Hillfolk Noir’s touring lineup usually but not always consists of:
Travis Ward: Guitar, suitcase and singing
Alison Ward: Musical saw, washboard, banjo and singing
Mike Waite: Double bass
Hillfolk Noir has performed with Built to Spill, Neko Case, Justin Townes Earle, James McMurtry, Deer Tick, Gourds, Bonnie “Prince” Billy, The Devil Makes Three, Charlie Parr, Dark Dark Dark, Finn Riggins, Gerald Collier, Caleb Klauder, Train, Glen Phillips, Jesse Dayton, Neva Dinova and tons of other great acts that you may or may not have heard of.
For music, complete bio, discography and archival miscellany, visit Hillfolk Noir at hillfolknoir.com, petometz.com and sonicbids.com/hillfolknoir. Interact with the band at facebook.com/hillfolknoir and myspace.com/hillfolknoir.
Hillfolk Noir is available for interviews. For interview/music requests, high-resolution photos and/or more information, contact Chad Dryden with Bandwagon PR, 208.284.0355 or bandwagonpr@yahoo.com.
A sampling of accolades for Hillfolk Noir:
“If John Steinbeck owned a speakeasy, Hillfolk Noir would be the house band.” — John Doe (X, The Knitters)
“Brilliant, edgy punked-up acoustic hillbilly blues.” — American Roots UK
“Hillfolk Noir have fine-tuned their dark, Depression-era jangly blues to become one of the most incredible bands in [Boise]. They are as honest as they come.” — Seattle Weekly
“I love this.” — Ricky Ross, BBC Radio Scotland 
“Too authentic to be considered alt anything. Ward is an evocative, charismatic singer-songwriter who embraces diverse shards of Americana. Time-warped kaleidoscopes —sparse, historically reverent and pretty terrific.” — Michael Deeds, Idaho Statesman
“You guys sound like Johnny Cash on Robitussin.” — Ryan, Pengilly’s Saloon bartender

2012 press release

Fronted by singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Travis Ward, Hillfolk Noir’s peculiar take on traditional acoustic mountain music is filtered through a half-century of folk, country and rock ‘n’ roll and fed by an affinity for medicine show culture and Depression-era string-band blues. The band calls it Junkerdash, which has multiple definitions up to and including “psychedelic swamp-shack rags.” However, if you’re looking for something neat and tidy to place in print or casual conversation, feel free to use current music-journalism parlance and call it “indie folk.”

Hillfolk Noir’s touring lineup usually but not always consists of:

Travis Ward: resonator guitar, vocals, suitcase, harmonica, kazoo, words
Mike Waite: stand-up bass
Alison Ward: singing saw, washboard, banjo, harmonies

Hillfolk Noir is touring behind its latest album, Hillfolk Noir Radio Hour (March 2012). The full-length studio recording is sequenced like an old-timey radio program straight out of O Brother, Where Art Thou?, complete with commercial breaks plugging a bunch of fake products they made up. The album is available on CD, MP3 and limited-edition 10-inch vinyl packaged to resemble a 1920s-era 78 (but sounding much better).

Hillfolk Noir has performed with Built to Spill, James McMurtry, Neko Case, Justin Townes Earle, Deer Tick, Gourds, Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band, Bonnie “Prince” Billy, Gerald Collier, Heroes and Villains, Train, Jesse Dayton, The Dusty 45s, Neva Dinova and tons of other great acts that you may or may not have heard of. The good Junkerdash word also has been spread on countless American street corners because the Hillfolkers hold the busking tradition in high regard and, well, sometimes they need the gas money…

A sampling of accolades for Hillfolk Noir:

“Hillfolk Noir have made a classic roots record using old style, one mic, low-fi technology, the music is fantastic but the feel of the record “Skinny Mammy’s Revenge” has captured the passion and love of this genre absolutely perfectly. As soon as you hear it, you are there with them, in that circle of musicians, hearing up-close their great songs, the heartfelt stories and you are next to them for every note… a roots classic without a doubt.”
~ Barry Marshall-Everitt, House of Mercy Radio

www.houseofmercy.net

“Hillfolk Noir – modern day old time wonderment.”
~ Rick Stuart, Roots and Fusion Radio of Pure Radio, UK

“If John Steinbeck had a Speakeasy, Hillfolk Noir would be the house band.”
~ John Doe, of John Doe, X, The Sadies, and The Knitters

Bio to be continued….

2011 press release

5 QUESTIONS WITH HILLFOLK NOIR
1. Are you really “hillfolk”?
We’re reasonably normal 21st-century urban dwellers with cell phones and city-people jobs. Yet our Idaho roots reach into shadowy corners of the state where the echoes of settlers still reverberate off the walls of the valleys. We sing happy and sad songs of our ancestors and happy and sad songs of our own — sometimes they’re one and the same. It’s like Guy Clark says: “Somedays the songs write you.”
2. Are you a quartet? A trio? A duo? A dude?
Depends on the day. The possible mathematical combinations are too many to list here (and we’re only confounding people more by playing SXSW as a quintet for the first time). The one constant is our main man Travis Ward, Hillfolk’s lead singer, guitarist, chief songwriter and visionary. Our performance lineup typically looks like this:
Travis Ward: National guitar, vocals, harmonica, kazoo, suitcase, words
Mike Waite: Stand-up bass
Alison Ward: Singing saw, washboard, banjo, harmonies
3. What the heck is Junkerdash?
Junkerdash is a term we applied to our peculiar take on traditional acoustic mountain music, which is filtered through a half-century of folk, country and rock ‘n’ roll and fed by our affinity for medicine show culture and Depression-era string-band blues. If Junkerdash were in the dictionary, there would be multiple definitions up to and including “psychedelic swamp-shack rags.” However, if you’re looking for something neat and tidy to place in print or casual conversation, feel free to use current music-journalism parlance and call it “indie folk.”
4. What’s the Hillfolk Noir Radio Hour?
The Hillfolk Noir Radio Hour is our new album. The full-length studio recording is sequenced like an old-timey radio program straight out of O Brother, Where Art Thou?, complete with commercials breaks plugging a bunch of fake products we made up. The album is available in the uber-modern digital and CD forms, but we prefer the limited-edition 10-inch vinyl that resembles a 1920s 78 (but sounds much better).
5. Hillfolk has traversed the country north to south and east to west spreading the Junkerdash gospel. Whose musical paths have you crossed?
We’ve played with Built to Spill, James McMurtry, Neko Case, Justin Townes Earle, Deer Tick, Gourds, Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band, Bonnie “Prince” Billy, Gerald Collier, Heroes and Villains, Train, Jesse Dayton, The Dusty 45s, Neva Dinova and tons of other great acts that you may or may not have heard of. We’ve also performed on countless American street corners because we hold the busking tradition in high regard and, well, sometimes we need the gas money.

 

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