Jim Carpenter & The Hoolios


“Joining Girls, Guns and Glory in concert tonight are local Americana heroes The Hoolios.  It’s more than just coincidence or shrewd booking that the two acts are sharing a bill.  Ward Hayden of Girls, Guns and Glory is a big fan of The Hoolios and their leader, Jim Carpenter.  ’Jim is a really great guy and a great writer.’ Hayden says, ‘I’ve been a fan of his work for a few years  now.  We’re thrilled to be playing with Jim and The Hoolios.’ Rick Koster – The Day – April 6, 2013

“In the great, day-glo tapestry that is the New London music scene, Jim Carpenter probably qualifies as the area’s Tom Brady. Most Valuable Music Dude. Carpenter is an amazing singer / songwriter / player, as evidenced by his “Bahia Honda,”a disc at once reminiscent of Townes Van Zandt, Robert Earl Keen and the subdudes, and proof of Carpenter as a distinct artist unto himself. He’s familiar to local audiences through his longtime work with the Village Jammers, the Rivergods, Vince Thompson, the Full Dempsey and Sandy Allen. Carpenter also heads up the Hoolios, an astounding band that deserves to tour the world’s big stages. Carpenter plays tonight at Sneekers in a freewheeling solo gig, but, given his network of friends and pickers, expect quite a bit of talented folks to show up and sit in. ”

Rick Koster – The Day

“Why you should know them: There’s an incredible cornucopia of music in our little part of the New England, so is it possible to say one specific band is the best? Possibly. The Hoolios, a roots/Americana band, are world-class; if you saw them at any venue in the country, opening for or sharing a bill with Wilco or Robert Earl Keen or the Radiators … well, you’d absolutely believe they deserved to be there. With four- and five-part harmonies, exquisite musicality and Carpenter’s melodic muse — his songs are a bittersweet blend of Gulf Coast, New Orleans and Southwestern influences that seem a too-die-for blend of Marty Robbins, the subdudes and Townes Van Zandt — the Hoolios are pretty magical. ”
The Day

“the Hoolios are reminiscent of the subdudes, John Hyatt and Marty Robbins.”
Rick Koster – The Day

“It’s not exactly a Guns N’ Roses deal, but it’s fair to say a lot of citizens have been waiting a long time for Jim Carpenter to finish work on the long-rumored CD with his most-excellent band, The Hoolios. The time is now. And what’s doubly great and unexpected is that Carpenter is releasing two Hoolios albums at the same time – and both are completely distinct from each other. One is called “Rosalie” and the other is “Silver Triangle,” and between them are 20 tracks of Carpenter’s all-world, rootsy brilliance. Over time, the exact membership roster of the Hoolios has shifted a bit, but there is a core group of players and an identifiable band flavor to the recordings.”
Rick Koster – The Day

“With its working-class roots and memories of scuzzy Bank Street bars, New London has always liked its rock ‘n’ roll played fast and loud. But the newest release in the “Towers of New London” series, dubbed for reasons passing understanding, “Powers of New London,” shows off the increasingly diverse sounds coming out of the Whaling City. But where Powers really shines is in its quieter moments, like Roadside Attractions’ folksy simpatico “You Ain’t Gonna” and Matt Gouette’s sublime “Summers Without Mars.” New London’s singer-songwriters and Americana scene are also well represented here with the Hoolios’ “He Walks In Vain” and The Original Sinners’ hometown anthem “Wailing City Girl.””
Stephen Chupaska – The Day

“Birdsall played some Dogbite songs and some works in progress, while Carpenter offered some originals, and generally wowed the crowd and his fellow musicians. “You could see the jaws dropping when Jim played,” Birdsall said.”
Stephen Chupaska – The Day

“The Hoolios do not wear Jolly Jack Tar sailor outfits, and their original material does not revolve around whether the whale harvest will be bountiful this year. Nonetheless, their appearance as the inaugural act in Mystic Seaport’s new Music for the Morgan concert series represents a great fusion of live music and an awesome setting. Plus, part of the ticket revenue goes towards the restoration of the Seaport’s iconic wooden whaling ship, the Charles W. Morgan. Perhaps the finest of the area’s roots acts, the Hoolios simultaneously released two CDs last year, “Silver Triangle” and “Rosalie,” which in any just world would have elevated them to national reputation. Perhaps bigger fame is yet to come. In the meantime, in the boatshed on the shores of the Mystic River is a terrific place to experience their music. ”
Rick Koster – The Day

“ Jim Carpenter is not just one of the area’s finest tunesmiths. As a solo artist and as leader of the roots band The Hoolios, Carpenter’s songs reflect his Southern upbringing, the Southern literary tradition, and a decided sense of melodic narrative style that recalls Townes Van Zandt, Robert Earl Keen, Steve Forbert, and Marc Cohn. Carpenter had a vivid dream from which he awoke with two lines resonating in his brain: “He gave her roses /She made a crown of thorns” — and immediately thought they’d fit in a novel he was writing. But an incessant melody and a minor-key Delta guitar figure somehow tied themselves to the lines and he knew it would have to be a song. As with most of his compositions, it sort of appeared to him fully formed — melodically and structurally — after he reflected on the initial creative impulses. ”
Rick Koster – The Day

“Sinner’s Circle Year One” Sinner’s Circle Who they are: The 11 singer-songwriters from the first year’s series of Sinner Circle artist-in-the-round acoustic sessions at New London’s Bean & Leaf Café: Ben Parent, Liz Larson, Hugh Birdsall, John Fries, Jim Carpenter, Daphne Glover, Sandy Allen, Sue Menhart, Paul Brockett, Anne Castellano, and Nancy Brossard Parent. If you like: The “MTV Unplugged,” Nashville-style singer-songwriter roundabouts, the idea that a good song must stand on its own in cored-down fashion. Recommended tracks: Jim Carpenter’s “Sweet Amanda,” Nancy Brossard Parent’s “Widow,” John Fries’ “Jet Lag,” Hugh Birdsall’s “Take Me Home.” Info: sinnerscircle.net.
Rick Koster – The Day

“The Hoolios are dependably wonderful masters of melodic roots rock and the Attractions just released a sweet debut EP called “Whispers.” The Attractions will also indulge a zydeco fascination as the Swamp Doctors with the help of a few members of the Can Kickers.”
Rick Koster – The Day

“Disc Two is, from my perspective, the stronger collection. Almost every song works – both on its own and in the overall tapestry of the other 19 tunes. “Ride to Nowhere” is Gone For Good’s latest homage to the Cheap Trick legacy, and Dogbite fuse Buddy Holly and the Old ’97s on “Electrified.” “I Can’t Drink Enough,” by the always-excellent Jim Carpenter & Hoolios, polishes Gulf Coast gospel as filtered through a whisky bottle. Daphne Lee Martin & Raise the Rent’s lovely “Rosalita” sounds like the Texas Tornados if they replaced Freddie Fender with Linda Ronstadt.”
Rick Koster – The Day

“As for being able to include 40 different artists on “The Long Hundred,” Rich Martin, founder and chieftan of Cosmodemonic Records, says, “The thing that always strikes me with the compilations is the diversity of our musical community here in New London County. We really cover so many ends of the musical spectrum here without too much focus on any one genre like you might find in other ‘scenes.’ We’ve got it all.” As varied as the musical styles are, a particularly intriguing aspect of the collection is the mix of new and old artists. The immortal godfathers of the scene, The Reducers, are infectiously represented with a new song called “Sound of the City,” Americana wizards Jim Carpenter & the Hoolios present the sudsily autobiographical “I Can’t Drink Enough,” and roots-pop stalwarts the Rivergods present “Big C.””
Rick Koster – The Day

“The idea of the series is to take advantage of the vast stylistic array of songwriters and bands in this very fertile music scene and explore the individual creative processes and the always-different craft of composition — without any judgement on our part in term of genre or message. Jim Carpenter of the Hoolios is pretty generally regarded by our entire musical community as one of its finest songwriters — a guy with a national pedigree whose work is competitive in a global context. In the analysis and biography of his song “He Gave Her Roses,” Carpenter touches on a magnificent number of elements that went into the song: The cobwebbed segue between dreams, art and storytelling; the occasional and dark connection between religion and insanity; the blend of sudden and unbidden creative urges with hard work and the refinement of an idea; and the revelation that familial legacy is a reward for a lifetime’s work — rather than riches and stardom.”
Rick Koster – The Day

“There is one original tune on the CD, “Unhappy Holiday,” written by Jim Carpenter. Carpenter also sings the lead vocals and plays guitar on the bittersweet song about a relationship that ended before the holiday. The song is embellished by Nashville artists John Mock (originally form Montville) on Irish flute and Carole Rabinowitz on cello. “Jim is a fantastic songwriter. He usually writes in a very different vein than Christmas music and I had to push him to do it,” Manca says. “It’s a great song and really tugs at your heartstrings.””
AMY J. BARRY – The Day

“Don’t know if you’ve got an abacus or calculator. Hell, maybe you’re one of those types that has one of those computer thingies. The point is: by now, the incredibly popular Sinners Circle, a songwriters-in-the-round series, has featured about 4,000 tunesmiths of all styles. It’s cool, then, that the original Sinner quartet – Jim Carpenter, Hugh Birdsall, John Fries and Ben Parent – will reconvene Monday to help the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s inaugural Cabin Fever show of the season. Cabin Fever shows are famous as terrific winter time outings, and the Sinners will throw down both electric and acoustic sets.”
Rick Koster – The Day

“Friday Night Folk returns to All Souls Unitarian Universalist Congregation in New London with a performance by Richard Shindell. Shindell is a truly versatile and e’er questioning musician whose twinkling compositional eyes focus with moody, literate intensity on all manners of topical subjects from politics and war to prejudice and religion. “Not Far Now” is his most recent album release, and songs such as “One Man’s Arkansas” and “Juggler Out in Traffic” are emblematic of his gift. Local favorite Jim Carpenter – he of Hoolios renown – opens the show, which begins at 8 p.m.
Rick Koster – The Day

“In 2000 Jim Carpenter won the Chicago Lake County Folk Festival’s Songwriting Competition. His new record was recorded in Nashville and Loco Dare, his Connecticut studio. From the cover you’d expect a Jimmy Buffet sound, but this record is more Joe Ely and Tom Russell. Carpenter is an accomplished guitarist and his stories weave around familiar territory of lost opportunities on the human highway. The instrumental ”Club Alligator/Refugee’ showcases his fine dixterity as a musician . . . clearly a telented player encompassing all guitars, mandolin, banjo, papoose, drums and percussion. Mastered by Jim Demain in Nashville and produced by Carpenter, the recored is a pleasant trawl through tales of broken hearts, rivers, bridges and the source of the record’s title track on ‘The Rose Of His Tattoo’ – ‘the southern sun is on the rise, blinding him with coral white, the Bahia Honda bridge is falling, for twenty years this road has called him. . .””
– Andy Riggs, AmericanaUK (Oct 28, 2007)

“Island native makes mark as performer
Songwriter/performer Jim Carpenter
Chincoteague is better known for producing great decoy carvers than for turning out musician/songwriters, but Jim Carpenter is living proof of the range of talents of island natives.
The son of Chincoteague natives Marlene and Jim Carpenter Sr., Carpenter spent a good deal of his childhood on the island in addition to towns across the South and New England as his Coast Guardsman father was transferred from station to station.
Exposed to a variety of music, he developed a diverse songwriting and performing style that emanates from Caribbean, Cajun, country-rock and pop sounds.
Chincoteague was an early stomping ground for Carpenter.
“I used to play there as a solo, way back when I first started out,” the 42-year-old musician said in a phone interview from the Niantic, Conn. home he shares with his wife Robin and son Jake.
Still an island property owner, he has played with at the Crab House in Landmark Plaza in recent years.
Early in his career, however, Carpenter moved to New London, Conn. to take part in the then-happening folk music and songwriting scene where his career took off.
Deciding to take a stab at writing songs for recording artists, Carpenter moved to Nashville, Tenn. in 1986.
After a couple of moves back and forth between Nashville and Connecticut, Carpenter took the advice of friends who thought his sound would work on the folk music circuit.
With songs such as “Refugee,” about an old man recalling the years since he fled from Cuba to Miami, and “He Gave Her Roses,” the story of the demented wife of an unfortunate preacher, Carpenter’s singing, playing and songwriting abilities have drawn the notice of other artists.
He has shared the stage with such notables as Greg Brown, David Massengill, Bill Morrissey, Kevin Welch, Catie Curtis, Garnet Rogers and the Nields. And last fall, at New London’s Bank Street Roadhouse, he opened for Eric Taylor, a songwriter whose work has been used by esteemed singers Nanci Griffith and Lyle Lovett. Taylor indicated he wants to record one of Carpenter’s songs on his next album.
Meanwhile, Carpenter has been making the 16-17 hour drive to Nashville every other month to record his own CD, the second in his career.
He expects the new CD to be released in the fall. In the meantime, Carpenter has been playing in Connecticut folk clubs on a weekly basis with as many as three different bands.
Carpenter’s life is at a point where he feels comfortable. “I’m pretty much doing what I want to do,” he said. “I’m playing with good musicians, the kind of music I want to do.”
Over the last four years, Carpenter has expanded his love of writing from songs to longer fictional works. “It’s still new,” Carpenter said of his short story and novel writing. “It feels exciting to me. I’m trying to write as much as I can before I pitch it (to publishers).”
Nearly finished with a set of short stories and a novel, he describes his writings as “Southern fiction based on the Delmarva peninsula.” Although he has now spent as much of his life in the North as anywhere else, Carpenter realizes his heart still lies with his native South.”
-Chincoteague Beacon, Eastern Shore News, Virginia

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