On Your Trail
The guitar playing duo of John Gillespie and Mike Herman have been performing traditional and original acoustic blues together since 1995. Their music is deeply rooted in the styles of the Great Bluesmen from the Mississippi Delta and East Coast Piedmont regions. The sound and style of The Hell Hounds will take you back to a time when a couple of singers together with their guitars and harmonicas were as intricate as the blues got. From the lonesome cries of Robert Johnson to the intense raw energy of Muddy Waters, as well as having a wide array of originals, the Hell Hounds have something to offer any music lover. To witness a live performance is in this truly expressive form of Traditional American Music. There are Hell Hounds on your trail..... Mike Herman had lousy seats at that Hot Tuna concert back in 1988. From way in the back of the Nassau Coliseum he saw some open space, and moved up front. John Gillespie had great seats on the floor, and the two started talking. The topic was music, of course, and it became clear that these two strangers spoke the same language. The conversation lasted only til Mike was bumped back to the seats he paid for, and it seemed as if that would be the end of it. It wasn't. At another Hot Tuna concert weeks later, Mike and John recognized each other in the audience of thousands, and finally got around to exchanging phone numbers. It seemed inevitable, and The Hell Hounds were born. Even before they met, the two shared musical interests with a whole generation of young rockers. The 60's and 70's brought Hot Tuna, Johnny Winter, Led Zeppelin, Cream, Eric Clapton and Alvin Lee to stereos in rec rooms across the country. John listened to the music his older sisters were playing, and he also began to love the sounds of Leon Russell, the Allman Brothers, and Bonnie Raitt. They were both inspired enough to read album liner notes, and discovered that old names kept popping up. Blind boy Fuller wrote Keep On Truckin' and Rev. Gary Davis wrote Hesitation Blues. And who's this Robert Johnson? The two musicians formed a strong bond, and an equally strong example of true, pure, and honest acoustic country blues. 'I knew we had something good,' says John, 'We could really play together.' Mike agrees. 'It was like we were plugged into the same socket right from the beginning.' It didn't take long to discover that Mike and John meshed as well on stage as they did in the record store. In '95 they went on the road with their acoustic country blues, and have been playing an increasing number of clubs and festivals across the country as momentum for the duo grows. In '99 they were chosen from groups world-wide to play the BluesStock Festival on famous Beale Street in Memphis. Blues.., Blues.., Always the Blues. And then more Blues! As John once said in an interview, 'The blues are just life. In a nutshell, that's all it is. It doesn't have to be depressing... But on a personal level, I've been through it all. Ups and downs. A divorce. Broken love, broken heart, just broke.' 'The blues has meaning, and substance, and alot of feeling. Alot of feeling.' emphasized Mike. While a divorce and broken love assisted in inspiring the fire for The Hell Hounds first CD, Blues - like history - repeats itself. A devastating fire on New Year's Eve 2000, and an extended hospitilization in the summer of 2000 for Mike's fiance delayed the recording of their next CD. After dealing with life's catastrophes, the CD was recorded and released in the summer of 2001, and is titled 'Can't Take It With Ya' - 'The Hell Hounds are definitely in tune with the blues gods...' '...they're schooled in the language of the blues, and they show it...'~ Dirty Linen - 'These two fine young musicians, Mike Herman and John Gillespie really have that 'down home playin' on the front porch delta sound' down pat.' Pete Lauro aka Blewzzman - President Downtown Blues Alliance of the Treasure Coast - 'Herman evokes the spirit of Johnson and the Devil on this track with his deft fingerpicking. ...if you're a purist's purist when it comes to the Blues, this upstate New York duo has got your number.'Mark Harbeke ~ Blueswax - '...exuberant finger-pickin' and a stirring complement of slide work...' Art Tipaldi ~ Blues Revue - 'harkens us back to those relatively peaceful days ... provides a good vehicle for the Hell Hounds to showcase their guitar virtuosity.' Roger Miller ~ Blueswax - 'I listened to the live CD you sent me. Musically, I am very impressed. It's difficult to get two fingerstyle in each other's way.Top notch.' Mike Agranoff ~ Musician and Minstrel Coffeehouse Chairman - 'For lovers of traditional blues, The Hell Hounds make this genre of music seem new again.'Don Brown ~Las Vegas Blues - 'Fingers blazing, The Hell Hounds lay out brassy tunes with an old-time feel...'Ed Ivey ~ Blues Revue.