Dark Moon Hollow
Equally rooted in the foundations of bluegrass and country music, much like their native Kentucky, is Lexington-based group Dark Moon Hollow. Their self-titled debut, released on Oct. 31, 2020, navigates between slow and somber bluegrass ballads to high-strung honky tonk.
The 10-song effort recorded in the band’s hometown by Jason Groves at Sneak Attack Recording Co. features the two distinctly different, albeit equally attractive, songwriting and performance styles of Brett Horton of Sandy Hook, Kentucky and Trey Reinhart, born in Indiana. Horton’s cadence of heavy honky-tonk twang gives off subtle hints of fellow eastern Kentucky artist Keith Whitley. Reinhart wields a soulful voice ripe with Midwest grit and melancholy.
Joining them throughout are the blistering banjo of Thomas Keathley, mighty mandolin of Riley Logan and bumpin’ bass of Sean First, with occasional contributions from pedal steel player J. Tom Hantow (“Fell Out,” “Little Lady” and “Cold Again”).
The album features strong themes of navigating relationships, from falling out of love (“Fell Out”) to questioning whether you’d be better off out of a relationship than in one (“7up & Secrets”), angsty breakups (“Mailbox”) and struggling to move on from someone who’s moved on from you (“I Need You”). Other songs, like party anthem “Drinkin’ Again” and blazing instrumental “Fully Torqued” touch on the band’s more light-hearted, easy-going side often on display during their live show.
One of the album’s most vivid moments comes on “A Fish Named Dwight,” which tells the story of a man devastated by a recent breakup who’s finding reminders of his lost love in the smallest, most mundane things possible.
Despite the varying thematic content, one aspect always present in Dark Moon Hollow’s music is the earnest nature of their performance, from the songwriting to the tightness and groove of the band. They have honed their collective sound over the last three years of performing live, which is about the only way that listening to the recordings could be topped.