Country-influenced rock band Hillbilly Vegas, hailing from Poteau, Oklahoma, have released their newest EP titled, quite simply, 76’. The six-track set by Steve Harris (vocals and rhythm guitar) and Johnny Reed (keyboards, mandolin, rhythm guitar, banjo) is immersed in rock and country, adding surprising and subtle hints of blues and metal throughout.
Most of the songs on this EP go from intense to very intense, starting with the most hectic one of them, “2 Gun Town”. This high tempo one remains fun though, never crossing over to overwhelming, restrained just enough to offer a satisfying listen without taking over. Part of this seems to be the number of layers, which are lower here than in all the other songs on this EP.
While not as intense, both “Shake It Like a Hillbilly” and “High Time for a Good Time” remain high energy and also a lot of fun. The former is also the first single from the EP and it would make for a great summer track, playing loudly from a car’s stereo while the wind blows in from open windows. There is an attitude in the vocals that comes off as inspiring rather than intimidating, the kind that will put a bounce in your step and height in your back rather than fuel a listener’s anger. “High Time for a Good Time” is more melodic, allowing for the vocals to shine through; it’s a number I can easily hear playing on a contemporary rock station, and, when played live, I can just as easily imagine the lead singer winking at the ladies in the crowd.
Levelling off around the mid-tempo range are “Can’t Go Home” and “Long Way Back”. The latter is very classic-sounding, yet fresh, a familiar and fun number that will set toes tapping along. “Long Way Back” will no doubt do the same; the acoustic guitar-led number also features electric guitars that are a little tamed down but which deserve a spin of the track focused just on them. Each of this track’s multiple layers are crisp and clean and feature an ear catching electric guitar solo around the two-thirds mark.
The one exception to the energetic set is the slow, acoustic guitar-led “Losin’ to Win”. It comes as quite the contrast to the rest of the set, actually; while the other five tracks have a certain in-your-face attitude to their vocals, Harris comes off as soft and vulnerable here. The acoustic guitar adds to this by flirting and twisting around the vocals, sounding at times like backing vocals instead of an instrument.
Pictures provided by RMG.