I spoke to the male lead of Gun Hat a few weeks before the show on the 29th at Reggie’s; Andrew was a little nervous. With good cause, one can suppose, as he had found out that they’d been booked to open for Country-Rock legends Supersuckers. Their first night of a three night cycle of shows culminating in a New Year’s Eve show. Andrew knew there would be quite the crowd and quite the show, he expressed a genuine desire to go on stage and give the audience the show they came for. This conversation represented the entire crew’s approach to their set and their attitude on stage. Comprised of the vocal stylings of Andy and Sarah, a Tenor and an Alto, Gun Hat’s steady country song structure is melodic and pleasing to the ear. The melodies are well underscored by the strings that Andy, Laura, Tara and Nick all deftly leverage towards this unique group’s sound. Held together by the classic and steady beats, as laid down by Andy’s wife Ann, these folks don’t disappoint.
Disposing of the modern notions involving “country” music they are a rare breed of music that shares few local comparisons. Perhaps The Golden Horse Ranch Band or The Steepwater Band may give you a hint as to what you might hear; but you wouldn’t be close. Everyone on stage was free of any twang or pop sensibilities, with this home-made style of American Rock N Roll, harking back to the early big bands of Little Richard or Elvis Presley. Even with that early rock swagger, they remember the roots of American music and provide the simple flavor of a country tempo and structure to delight the ear and the audience.
Full of energy and all evidently very happy and grateful to be there, Gun Hat gave a wonderful show. With a 10-song set they all had a great time and interacted with the audience as a family might. Clearly a tight knit group this can often translate into the performance of their songs. From “When You Lie” or “Theme from Gun.Hat” you can tell they all have a good sense of each other. Their easy smiles and friendly demeanor was a breath of warm air on a brisk Chicago morning. Gun Hat’s unique Country-Rock sound is definitely refreshing in a world oversaturated with honky-tonk-hijinks and pop-tarts. If you want a fun band to take friends or family to see, keep your ears perked for these guys. The well-written songs and lively performance will not disappoint and will surely put you in a Rock-N-Roll kind of way. – Ben Kessell