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June 26, 2020




December 20, 2018

"If you take The Bluegrass Parkway across Kentucky and head south on Highway 555 towards Lebanon, you’ll find yourself at the geographic center of the state, where the Mississippi Plateau meets the Outer Bluegrass. They call this region The Knobs in reference to the scores of monadnocks, the geologic formations that seem to rise from the landscape as if by force of will, abruptly announcing themselves in contrast to plains so level and static it's disquieting. These brazen topographic anomalies are otherworldly in the striking way they evoke some long-forgotten prehistoric epoch with their majestic Harrodsburg limestone caprocks and precipitous Bordon shale slopes. Wending their way through the lowlands are branch waters -- distant tributaries of the Kentucky River to the east -- which together form the complex watershed that’s the source for everything from holy water to the distillate precursor of the clear spirit called white dog, which is aged in charred oak barrels to make bourbon whiskey -- a dichotomy befitting this land that in a way seems set upon the juncture of salvation and sin. From the Triple 5, you take Bloomfield Road to the Beech Fork and follow that branch west to Bardstown, where you can visit My Old Kentucky Home and the distillery where they make Ten High whiskey, which is aged in casks stored ten ricks high for best flavor. Just north is the town of Fairfield, which is a far 825 miles from Fairfield, Connecticut, the New England home of Hitch & the Giddyup. But those Kentucky branch waters have a way of closing that gap as they reach rivers and oceans, until there's no real distance between Beech Fork Creek and Long Island Sound. When you make that trip, you’ll want to bring this record as your soundtrack since, like the region itself, the music sits precisely at the place where salvation meets sin."

- Rico Cass, November 2018




May 10, 2017

"Before Harry Smith and Francis James Child, Stephen Foster and W.C. Handy, Robert Johnson and Al Jolson – before Acuff  and Rose, Franklin and Edison, Bach and Beethoven  -  folks made do. They played music for themselves and their friends. Like now, a small handful even sometimes got paid. There were no critics to grind them down with shame and herd them - to say their music wasn't confessional enough, or too derivative, or not varied enough in tempo or key, or that it lacked sophistication. Still, they probably played pretty good. And they likely approached their craft with the same abandon and lack of pretense – with that jouissance beyond the pleasure principle – that encapsulates the musical approach of Hitch and the Giddyup. And their collective ballads, chants, shanties, and reels – their lullabies, plaints, anthems, hymns, and songs of work and of love – drew from the same stream that joins us all, through time and human reckoning in their vast entirety, to the depths of our collective deep wells of the longing and loss and regret and the hope of the blues that have always infused bluegrass music. And just because some of these songs have been newly penned and have freshly coalesced here on this “Under the Neon Swine” album, it doesn’t mean they haven't always been here somehow. And it’s nice to finally welcome them back."      

-Rico Cass, May 2017

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