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The Hooten Hallers, Hugh DeNeal will rock the Big Room


The Hooten Hallers, Hugh DeNeal will rock the Big Room

The Hooten Hallers, a high-energy, blues-rock band known for hard-traveling and wild live shows, will be making a national tour stop at The Varsity on Saturday, May 25. The People vs. Hugh DeNeal will open.

As the band’s website says, “When The Hooten Hallers come to town, it’s going to be a party.” John Randall’s demonically-tinged vocals and manic guitar, coupled with Andy Rehm's screaming falsetto vocals and steady, pounding drum beats, create the band’s unique blend of deep blues and country punk. Kellie Everett brings the power with the deep rumble of her baritone and bass saxophones.

Their music incorporates elements of rhythm and blues, rock’n’roll, honky tonk, jazz, soul and punk with a thematic penchant for the strange and the unexplained. Their live shows take the listener on a seamless ride from unapologetically raucous blues on the lap steel and bass sax, to a sweet three-part harmony country ballad, to a romping dance number.

Their latest album, “Live in Missouri,” was recorded at The Blue Note in Colombia, the trio’s hometown. The recording captures the intensive energy of the group in concert. Check them out at

Hugh DeNeal is known mostly as a singer and songwriter for the Trashcan Americana band Woodbox Gang, and as the subject of a documentary film, “Confidence Man: The Hugh DeNeal Story.” He now leads the group The People vs Hugh DeNeal, which has finished its debut album, “Gas Station Sandwiches.” The songs run in a dark but humorous vein, finding the absurd and the humanity in the strangest of places. The album was recorded over the course of two years at Misunderstudio in Murphysboro, with Woodbox Gang engineer Mike Lescelius at the controls.

Musicians in the band are DeNeal on guitar and vocals, Evan Sims on ukulele, Nathan Graham on upright bass, Dakota Holden on electric guitar and pedal steel, and Greg Edwards on percussion. The band – whose members come from Whistle Pigs, Hobo Knife, Dakota Holden Trio, and Jenny and the Johnsons – create high-impact and haunting sounds against the strange tales inhabiting “Gas Station Sandwiches.”

This very special Varsity show gets started at 7 p.m. Saturday, May 25. Tickets are $17 in advance at and at Plaza Records, 816 E. Main St., Carbondale. Tickets will be $20 at the door. They are not available in advance at the venue, but will go on sale the night of the show when doors and the Varsity Bar open at 6.

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