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Notable Nashvillians: Humming House Talks Americana Music Fest, Party Albums, & Mustaches


It’s the most wonderful time of the year, y’all – especially if you’re an Americana fan. This week, our fair city is gonna be groovin’ to the sweet sounds of Americana Music Festival, a week long festival and conference dedicated to all things folksy. The lineup is insanely awesome, bringing us some legends who have been around the block (check back Wednesday for our interview with the Father of Americana, Jim Lauderdale) and some exciting up-and-comers! One of the acts we’re looking forward to the most? Humming House.

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There ain’t no party like a Humming House Party. And yes, we mean that quite literally – the dynamic group’s latest release, “Humming House Party! Live” is a testament to their party-throwin’ skills and explosive live show that has been earning them fans all over the country. From the raucous foot-stomping anthem that is “Stop Me Still” to the moody mandolin-filled slow burn that is “Gasoline”, Humming House packs a punch. The Nashville-based group is playing Americana Fest for the second time, just in time for you to catch a set before their second studio album makes its debut (check out the details on Americana Fest HERE). We chatted with the HH crew frontman, Justin Wade Tam (while the band drove through the cornfields of Illinois) about all things Americana, Nashville, and mustache competitions.


So you guys are on the road right now?

Yes, we are somewhere in Illinois. There are cornfields everywhere!

Bet that’s just beautiful! Now, you’ve played Americana Fest before. How was that experience?

It was great. The first time we played was at Station Inn with our friends The Steep Canyon Rangers, and it was a really great show. They did a great job promoting, and it’s a cool festival that gets everyone in the city out for one big event.

We’ve heard a compelling quote about you guys; “Humming House is a musical experiment gone right”. How did you come together as a band?

We all started about three years ago. I had actually started an Irish jam playing traditional Irish music, and I met our mandolin player Josh. Our bass player was a friend and fell in that way. We cut a record a couple of months later produced by Vance Powell, who has worked with some great artists like Jack White and Buddy Guy. When I originally wrote the songs for the record I wasn’t sure exactly what the process was going to be like. We got along so well, so we wanted to take a shot at this thing. Bobby and Leslie joined the band for the last couple of years, and it’s been really cool to grow together and turn in to what we are today.

Awesome! So the Humming House Party! record just came out, and it was recorded live at a local house show. Can you give us some insight into that night?

It was actually inspired by this Beach Boys documentary, which came out in 1998 and was done by a director that we’ve all loved for a long time. They recorded this studio album with a live audience, and it ended up being a fun, loose set that was indicative of the music they were creating at the time. We’ve often been told by our fans that people enjoy the live show, and the first record didn’t reflect that vibe as much. We really wanted to go in and capture our live performance, so we planned the show for Eastside Manor, a small recording studio tucked away in East Nashville. It was the perfect place to throw a big party and also use some great gear. We basically just threw a big party, inviting all of our best friends and fans. You really feel that on the record.

It’s so fun to listen to the crowd laughing and you guys engaging with the audience. It seems like Nashville is getting a reputation for having these really special house show moments specific to the tight-knit creative community that might not be as present in other cities. What do you think makes Nashville’s music scene different than other cities?

I grew up in southern California, and I wasn’t always running into people I knew at the grocery store. It was really spread out as far as community – there’s not really a good town center, so moving to Nashville was really refreshing for me. Seeing people around provides such a community-based thing in music. There’s people cowriting and setting up these musical collaborations, which might not be as common in LA or New York. I think that sets the stage for people who know each other doing really interesting house shows.

Who else are you excited to see at Americana Fest?

Andrew Cohen, Lindi Ortega…there’s just so many major artists, it’s really hard to pick just one! I think the Avett Brothers show will be incredible. Unfortunately we’re on the road right after our performance. That’s how tour goes.

What can we expect from Humming House in 2015?

We have a brand new studio record that’s being finished. It was actually recorded before the live record. In the last eight months we’ve recorded two albums, so it’s been a great time for us creatively. We plan to put out a studio record in the first quarter of next year. It’s much more of a band collaboration – everybody had a lot more stake in arrangements and songwriting.

What’s your advice to an up-and-coming band looking to make it in the city?

First and foremost, I think you need to make good art. It might sound cliche, but don’t do what everyone else is going; make good art.

Nice! Now here’s our Nashville-based lightning round questions. Favorite venue?

The Ryman for sure!

Favorite meal?

Oh, that’s difficult. There’s so much great food in Nashville. I’d probably say The Bird from Silly Goose.

Favorite record to ever come out of Nashville?

One of my favorites is the Blonde on Blonde record done at Woodland Studios, which is one of my favorite Bob Dylan record. We’ll go with that one.

Favorite neighborhood?

Gonna have to go with East Nashville! For sure. We all live there.

What’s something people might not know about Humming House?

Some of the members were in a very prestigious mustache competition a few years ago. They won.


There you have it, y’all. Mustache skills, killer harmonies, a powerful live show; Humming House has got it all. Get your Americana Fest tickets today and catch the HH show this Thursday at The Basement (details here). Grab Wannado for all things Nashville (live music, happy hours, restaurant suggestions, and more), and we’ll see you out there!

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