Thursday, May 19, 2016

Chicago band Hood Smoke releases sonically compelling new album, will perform at The Hideout

"Rough Around the Hedges," the third album by Chicago band Hood Smoke, offers further proof why the group is one of the most compelling bands on the local music scene.
Hood Smoke will celebrate the release of the CD with a show on May 20 at The Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia Ave., Chicago. Makaya McCraven also is on the bill.

The show starts at 9 p.m. and tickets are $10, available by going to

I had the chance to bandleader Bryan Doherty about the new album. 

Q - Great talking to you. "Rough Around the Hedges" is the band's third album. In sitting down to make the album, what were your goals and do you think you accomplished them?

The goal was to get a solid representation of each song. Some took longer than others but we ultimately succeeded in accomplishing fine final performances we thought to be compelling.

Q - The album's title seems to be a play on words. Is there a meaning behind the album's title?

The title came to me quickly after the last day of live band recording in November of 2014. I'm pretty sure that one of my favorite movies of all time, "Three Amigos," was in the back of my mind when I said “Hedges” instead of “Edges.”

Dusty Bottoms (Chevy Chase) has this great line where he's trying to play it cool with the villain, El Guapo, and says "...We pruned the hedges..."

Q - What do you think each band member brings to the table, including singer Sarah Marie Young? How did the band come together?

Everyone is so accomplished on their instrument, and everyone in the band has such great time. Michael Caskey, the drummer, has just about the greatest time, or feel, and we've always linked up well.

Q - I know you started playing bass when you were 12. What drew you to the instrument in the first place and what have you tried to do in your playing? Have you modeled your playing after any bass players in particular?

I played guitar and piano in fourth grade and was tinkering with what was new at the time, the composition software Finale. The orchestra teacher needed a bass player for the orchestra and asked if I'd be interested, given my ability, to play a couple different instruments.

That was that.

Q - You have been in Chicago for several years now. How do you think the Chicago music scene compares to the Milwaukee music scene? How do you think you fit into the Chicago music scene?

I've lived in Chicago since 2003 so, unfortunately, I wouldn't be the one to ask about the Milwaukee scene. I know that when I was there, there was a wealth of musical information at my disposal.

I was fortunate enough to get some education at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music where I studied with such greats as Mark Davis, Berkeley Fudge, Dave Bayles, Victor Campbell, etc.

I also attended the Milwaukee High School of the Arts where I met a plethora of amazing musical peers.  I'm not sure how I'm fitting into the Chicago music scene but I hope I am fitting in at all, I suppose.

Q - Do you have any dream projects or collaborations?

I think after hearing Bob Weir sing at Soldier Field, my new dream is to play a tune with him. I love how his voice soars over a big venue.

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