The Pine Hill Haints

The Pine Hill Haints have spent the last two decades resurrecting all kinds of music that has passed out of the mainstream—in a style they call “Alabama Ghost Country.”

“In some ways, we preceded the whole roots movement,” Haints bandleader Jamie Barrier says. “But in other ways, nobody preceded anything. People are almost afraid to say they love country without trying to up the rock side. But I think about the Carter Family just playing ‘You Are My Sunshine.’ The purity and emotion of that. It’s almost like the hardest angle to find in country music today, so we wanted to really go there.”

On the band’s latest long-player, The Song Companion of a Lonestar Cowboy, they go there. The album kicks off with “Fall Asleep” and “Back to Alabama,” a fiery pair of rockabilly-meets-Irish-jig rave-ups, then winds through standout tracks like the catchy cajun-flavored squeezebox pop of “Lone Star Kid.” Throughout, Barrier’s strong tenor voice rings familiar and friendly, and the band plays with a sense of abandon that comes from thousands of gigs behind them. The Haints do something very few can, which is to transcend influences and sculpt age-old soul music for our time.

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