Trigger Hippy has had quite a few top flight musicians flow through its ranks in its decade as an on-again-off-again band. But its core founders, the rhythm section of drummer Steve Gorman and bass player Nick Govrik has been the common denominator throughout. And at a WMOT Wired In session Wednesday night at the Analog in Nashville, opened up by New York songwriter Jesse Malin, Gorman told Roots Radio host Jessie Scott that the newest and current lineup is a keeper.
"Technically it's the 12th version," Gorman said, perhaps exaggerating a little. "But it's the first one that's made a record with an eye to keeping it going in perpetuity." That puts a lot of emphasis then on Amber Woodhouse and Ed Jurdi up front. She is a mellifluous singer and sax player who records under her own name and who embraces "blurring the lines between the mainstream and the experimental." He is a longtime singer, songwriter and guitarist from Austin's Band of Heathens. They traded off lead vocal duties and sang brassy harmonies with extra support from some trippy keyboard and lead guitar.
Most of the night's set in the pristine high fidelity ambience of the Analog was drawn from that album Gorman mentioned, Full Circle And Then Some, released in mid October. The first two numbers were fairly standard shaky-butt, striding rock and soul. Then "The Door" seemed to open up the hippie portal with a slow-jam groove, floaty cyclical guitar riff and dreamy lyrics from Woodhouse. Over the next 40 minutes, songs like "Born To Be Blue" and "Dandelion" rode the fine line between nimble roots rock and psychedelic roller coaster. Woodhouse threw down a sax solo on the darkly funky "The Butcher's Daughter," but only that once, which left us craving more of her instrumental chops. And the band isn't shy about electric noise and extended musical ideas. One song took well over a minute to fade out gradually with nothing but skilled dynamics on bass, keys and drums, and it made the crowd go nuts.
It called to mind a thought from Gorman in an interview about the band's patience at the macro and micro level. "There's no timetable on goodness." May Trigger Hippy keep going in perpetuity.