For nearly two decades, Hot Buttered Rum has attracted a truly multi-generational audience across the States with their high energy and fun-loving performances that showcase their stunning instrumental and vocal ingenuity.
“Lonesome Panoramic is the result of different thematic and stylistic threads that Butter has been chasing over the years: driving uptempo stringband tunes, layers of dark lonesome drum grooves, letting things go, and embracing what we have,” says HBR’s Nat Keefe.
The band’s two vocalists and songwriters, guitarist Nat Keefe and multi-instrumentalist Erik Yates (mainly 5-string banjo, also resonator and acoustic guitars), take turns leading each of the 13 well-crafted originals on the album. Rounding out the band, Bryan Horne delivers, in true athletic form, his talents on upright bass along with charismatic fiddler and harmony vocalist Zebulon Bowles and drummer/percussionist/mandolinist James Stafford, providing a warm and solid rhythmic foundation.
Self-produced, Lonesome Panoramic was recorded at Panoramic House Studio in Stinson Beach, CA, along the Panoramic Highway. With majestic views of the western Marin County coastline, it is a landmark destination studio built with recycled materials in the ‘60s and renovated and upgraded into a studio in 2013. The studio has been host to several big-name indie bands, including My Morning Jacket, Band of Horses, and Thee Oh Sees. Lonesome Panoramic was engineered by Robert Cheek (Band of Horses, The Chris Robinson Brotherhood), mixed by Zebulon Bowles, and mastered by David Little.
Yates says, “Making music on the Panoramic Highway carried a lot with it for me. It’s one of the roads I grew up driving, towards the ocean, the mountain, the woods, and, eventually, back home again. I hope some of these tunes can do the same for the listener.”
Much of Hot Buttered Rum’s music is inspired by the northern California landscape and Lonesome Panoramic conveys a broad range of what Hot Buttered Rum offers. The album kicks off with a pair of buoyant bluegrass tunes, opening with their more traditional lineup of guitar, fiddle, banjo, bass, with Stafford forgoing the drums for mandolin. They change the pace a bit on the third track, “Country Tunes & Love Songs,” adding in drums for this mid-tempo Americana rocker; it is one of a few songs on the album where Yates trades his banjo for the Dobro; another is “Treasure Island Blues.” Peaceful and reflective, “How Short the Song” is performed as a trio with velvety string arrangements, while “When that Lonesome Feeling Comes” is a more lively ragtime boogie gospel.
Rooted in the trajectory of west coast bluegrass, Hot Buttered Rum began in San Francisco in 1999 after Keefe, Yates, and Horne connected through back-country trip in the High Sierras; they added drums in 2008 and have since progressed into upbeat improvisational mix of song-oriented string music with a groove that interplays between bluegrass, folk, rock, and country. Their years of touring have given the band the chance to work and play with an extensive cross-section of musicians including Phil Lesh, Chris Thile, Kyle Hollingsworth, Brett Dennen, and Robert Earl Keen, to name a few, as well as being named “The Official Bluegrass Band of the San Francisco Giants.”
With Lonesome Panoramic, Hot Buttered Rum wades the full width of the river from the shoals to the deep waters with a passionate, laid back attitude and they are thrilled to share this new album with the world.