Trigger Hippy (Gorman, Greene & Osborne)

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Gammondorf, Nov 21, 2013.

  1. Gammondorf

    Gammondorf Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Boston, MA, USA
    Trigger Hippy is a new band featuring Steve Gorman (drummer, Black Crowes), Joan Osborne (vocals), Jackie Greene (vocals, guitar, keys), Tom Bukovac (guitar) and Nick Govrik.

    Stylistically they're kind of a soulful modern blues band but with two lead singers in Joan & Jackie. Lead guitar player Tom Bukovac is a big session guy in Nashville and has some serious chops. Steve & Nick provide a really solid bottom end.

    They released a new single today called "Turpentine":

    You can also download a free mp3 at

    Anyway, thought some of you might dig the tune.

    (Full disclosure: I'm friends with Gorman but have no official relationship to the band.)
  2. Gammondorf

    Gammondorf Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Boston, MA, USA
    My review of the Trigger Hippy EP:

    In his cooking memoir “Heat” Bill Bruford writes about legendary late-night dinners in New York City, where accomplished chefs would cook for each other and drink, smoke and tell war stories until the break of dawn. With no customers to cater to and no critics to sway the Chefs were free to just do their thing. They could experiment. They could impress their peers. They could fail. But most importantly, they could remember when the art of cooking was their passion, before it became their life, their business and their master.


    In today’s modern music scene, too many “artists” are using music as a means to an end. They want the fame. They want the money. But they don’t care about the song.

    The song is all that should matter! The song that reflects our past, defines our present, and provides a signpost to the future. The song has nothing to do with genre or success and everything to do with sincerity and human expression. The song is why we love music.


    Individually the members of Trigger Hippy have nothing to prove.

    Founder Steve Gorman helped to propel The Black Crowes to the top of the charts, produced one of the greatest rock albums ever (“The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion”) and proved himself to be one of the few living drummers capable of holding John Bonham’s sticks.

    His partner in rhythm Nick Govrik is the band’s secret weapon, a funky bassist who writes songs that stop you cold and demand your attention.

    Singer Joan Osborne burst on the scene by adding an entry to the Great American Songbook (“One of Us”), and then proceeded to bring her strong soulful voice to a variety of styles and songs. Whether originals or covers, Joan brings it every time, usually improving upon the template. And then she became a part of the Grateful Dead family and resurrected the long-neglected Pigpen blues tunes, literally blowing everyone’s minds and expectations.

    Jackie Greene does it all. He can play anything with strings, plus keys and harp. He’s an amazing songwriter (cue up “Love Song; 2:00 am” sometime) but best of all is that voice. To listen to Jackie sing is to realize how rare truly brilliant rock singers are. His voice is smooth, it’s strong, it’s expressive, it’s soulful and it’s sweet.

    Lead guitarist Tom Bukovac is a classic “you don’t know him but you’ve definitely heard him” guy. A musician’s musician, Tom is the hottest session player in the business, winning industry award after award, while staying in the shadows. His work with Trigger Hippy will shine some richly-deserved light on his skills.


    With the Record Store Day release of their self-titled debut, Trigger Hippy makes a great first impression. While only containing four songs (all originals) the EP shows many facets of the band while hinting at future possibilities and leaving us desperate for more.

    The lead single “Turpentine” kicks things off with the band’s signature – the twin vocals of Joan & Jackie. Listening to them makes you wonder why more bands don’t explore the male/female vocal combination. Joan and Jackie blend together magnificently and the possibilities are endless. The song itself is a fun, upbeat tune with guitars both crunchy and ringing and a trippy summertime vibe. Best of all, you can hear plenty of space for this tune to explode in a live setting.

    Next up is “Heartache on the Line” which is a gorgeous ballad. Even with a slow dance the band flexes its muscles, with Gorman hitting hard, a soulful organ, and layers of sounds that build into a cohesive whole. Of course Jackie & Joan deliver another stellar vocal performance.

    Things get a little funkier with “Pocahantas”, which has a little “Trampled Underfoot” vibe going on and short but effective guitar and keyboard solos in the middle.

    Closing out the set is “Ain’t Persuaded Yet” a bluesy story-song that really lets Joan and the rhythm section shine. Nick lays down a sweet bass line, Gorman thunders and the guitar very subtly steps back to create an ominous atmosphere.

    All four tracks are great and will garner multiple listens. Based on my own predilection for weepy country-rockers, “Heartache on the Line” will be in heavy rotation. I can’t hear that song enough, which is always the true sign of success for me.


    For a new band Trigger Hippy exudes an astonishing level of confidence and polish. There’s no holding back and no half-measures. They just go for it on every song. It’s the type of music that works as pleasant background music but also rewards careful listening. Focusing on the individual parts reveals just how perfectly constructed these tunes are, how they come together with intent and purpose.

    I’m excited to see where Trigger Hippy takes us next. The blues as a genre has long been dormant, with much celebration of the past but little innovation. Yet here’s a blues band that is changing the formula by adding soulful voices, a funky bass, and a drummer that swings to the expected guitar virtuosity.


    In my mind there are musicians gathered around a table, late at night after the gig’s over and the fans have gone home, sharing a meal, a drink and a smoke and talking about music. Not about their careers, but about their passion, their inspiration and their ideas. They’re excited about music and remembering why they walked down such a crazy path in the first place. And at that table are Steve, Jackie, Joan, Nick & Tom, dreaming up a vision for Trigger Hippy, a band built on passion, love and mutual respect.

    (By the way, I’m also at that table, spreading good vibes. Hey, it’s my dream after all).
  3. kvsawilson

    kvsawilson Forum Resident

    [quote="Anyway, thought some of you might dig the tune.
    (Full disclosure: I'm friends with Gorman but have no official relationship to the band.)[/quote]

    Thanks, I did. And my full disclosure would be that I'm a huge Joan Osborne fan.
    And nice write up Gammondorf. Looking forward to getting it.

  4. dgstrat

    dgstrat Forum Resident

    West Islip, NY
  5. mrjinks

    mrjinks Optimistically Challenged

    Boise, ID.
    Last year's EP was fabulous - psyched to see an album is coming. Thanks for the heads up!
    dgstrat likes this.
  6. painted8

    painted8 Forum Resident

    This is a band you must see live. Osbourne and Greene sound incredible together.
    BNell likes this.

    DEAN OF ROCK Forum Resident

    Hoover, AL
    Highly recommended!
  8. pghmusiclover

    pghmusiclover Forum Resident

    I am surprised there isn't a vinyl release listed for the album. Probably will be another Black Friday Record Store Day item!
  9. pghmusiclover

    pghmusiclover Forum Resident

  10. Yannick

    Yannick Forum Resident

    Cologne, Germany
    Here's looking forward to this album, and Jackie's next solo album as well.
  11. pghmusiclover

    pghmusiclover Forum Resident

  12. mrjinks

    mrjinks Optimistically Challenged

    Boise, ID.
    dgstrat likes this.
  13. BradOlson

    BradOlson Country/Christian Music Maven

    dgstrat likes this.
  14. southamorican

    southamorican Forum Resident

    São Paulo
    The CD is DR6... :shake:

    Analyzed: Trigger Hippy / Trigger Hippy
    DR Peak RMS Duration Track
    DR7 0.00 dB -8.06 dB 5:05 01-Rise Up Singing
    DR6 0.00 dB -7.40 dB 4:32 02-Turpentine
    DR6 0.00 dB -8.19 dB 5:49 03-Heartache On The Line
    DR6 0.00 dB -7.11 dB 4:21 04-Cave Hilll Cemetary
    DR6 0.00 dB -7.23 dB 5:32 05-Tennessee Mud
    DR6 0.00 dB -7.82 dB 3:13 06-Pretty Mess
    DR6 0.00 dB -7.54 dB 3:48 07-Pocahontas
    DR7 0.00 dB -9.45 dB 6:37 08-Dry County
    DR6 0.00 dB -7.77 dB 3:17 09-Nothing New
    DR6 0.00 dB -8.37 dB 5:41 10-Ain't Persuaded Yet
    DR8 0.00 dB -10.09 dB 4:55 11-Adelaide
    Number of tracks: 11
    Official DR value: DR6
  15. dgstrat

    dgstrat Forum Resident

    West Islip, NY
    Sounds pretty good, actually. Not that compressed modern sound
  16. Gammondorf

    Gammondorf Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Boston, MA, USA
    This is a really great release. The ballads are just incredible. Joan & Jackie's voices really blend together beautifully. It's great to hear a male-female lead duo again.

    My review of the LP (pardon the length!):

    One of my favorite topics, when discussing music with other music obsessives, is the role of the album in modern music. Growing up in the 70s & 80s the album was the standard. Bands put out a new record every year or two. It was your only connection with them, unless you were lucky enough to catch a live show. Some albums were overt concept albums, but most were just a snapshot of a moment in time. The album was an artistic statement – the best 10 songs the artist had to offer at that moment. We’d pore over everything: the songs, the cover art, the liner notes, the labels and the inserts, all in an attempt to experience everything we could about the artist. It was all we had.

    In the CD era “albums” became bloated, with most clocking in at 70 minutes and filler becoming all too common. Every album was a double. Do you realize that the Rolling Stones’ “A Bigger Bang” is the same length as “Exile on Main Street”? Guess what? I listened to “Exile on Main Street”. I loved “Exile on Main Street”. “A Bigger Bang” is no “Exile on Main Street”.

    So when digital downloads displaced CDs the culture moved from albums to singles, content to buy the song they wanted unbundled from the filler. Or more accurately, the culture returned to buying singles, which is where it all started, with 45s.

    And so the album, the perfectly designed and curated expression of an artist, became a relic. But perhaps what made the album so wonderful wasn’t the vinyl itself (prone to scratches and warping) but the length? Perhaps 2x 20 minute sides is the exact right length for a musical journey? Perhaps there was some magic in the creativity required to pick and sequence the exact songs for your release?


    The reason I ponder the role of the album in a singles era is because our old friends in Trigger Hippy have just released a full-length debut as a follow-up to their 2013 debut EP. Both are eponymously titled, so I guess we’ll have to go by the old Peter Gabriel rules and call the first one “rainy windshield” and this one “melty face” (or was “scratchy screen” #2? I forget.)

    When I first heard that Trigger Hippy was going to release a full-length I thought it was unnecessary. Why not just release EPs on a quarterly basis, promote singles via streaming and radio, and tour, tour, tour?

    But after listening to the album, really listening to the album 50+ times, I realized that my thinking was backwards. I was approaching it from a business standpoint, worrying about trends in sales and consumption. I wasn’t thinking about it from a creative perspective, from an artistic perspective. I saw it as a “release” instead of a “statement”. I fell into the dangerous trap of thinking of music as a commodity to be bought and sold, rather than the expression of 5 individuals’ souls.

    The reason that Trigger Hippy made this album, and the reason you need to hear this album, is because it’s a wonderfully complete artistic statement. These 11 songs build upon the 4 we heard last year (all 4 songs from the EP are included on the LP). They add extra dimension and texture to our understanding of what this band is all about. They allow the band to paint a full picture of who they are, both as individuals and as a band, and I’m really grateful for that. There’s no filler here and there’s no song that I would cut from the album.


    There’s nothing I like more than being proven wrong, and I’m glad to be proven wrong about the vitality of full-length albums in the digital era. There’s clearly a need for albums that are made for the right artistic reasons. There’s always room for art, even if there isn’t always room for product.

    The other beautiful thing about a well-crafted album is that there’s an oft-forgotten space between singles and filler. There are always those wonderful songs, those B-sides that may not appeal to everyone, but will most likely be someone’s favorite song. As Trigger Hippy sings in ‘Heartache on the Line’: “it ain’t every thing we asked for but it’s everything we need.” In other words, sometimes we don’t always know what we need, sometimes it’s better to have a little faith and take what is given and be open to the unexpected. And maybe what we’ve lost in the modern singles era is an appreciation for the great songs that will never be singles.

    I’ve written before about Trigger Hippy so I don’t need to spend much space talking about their virtuosity as musicians. Individually they’re all amazing players. Steve Gorman is the kind of drummer you want to build a band around, playing exactly what the song requires. Nick Govrik is a killer bass player, propelling the songs, plus he sings damn well (which has to be intimidating in this band). Tom Bukovac is my kind of guitar player, who know how to attack without overplaying. Joan Osborne has a seductive voice of strength and beauty. Jackie Greene is a prodigy on guitar, keys and harp, plus he’s got a great, soulful voice.

    But what matters most is how they play together and how they balance their individual strengths. They’re clearly a band that respects and loves each other. They’re having a musical conversation that we’re lucky enough to be privy to.

    The album consists entirely of originals and the songs are universally solid musically and lyrically. And while we’ve known for years that Jackie Greene can write a great tune, the real revelation on this album is Nick Govrik. When listening to the Nick songs I think of none other than Gene Clark. Like Gene, Nick writes songs that are deceptively simple but contain layers and multitudes. Some writers possess an innate skill to comment on the human condition, to turn phrases that ring true, that demonstrate a depth and wisdom that belie their accessibility.

    Thematically, the song cycle speaks of love and loss, but from a mature perspective. These are songs written from the perspective of experience, of relationships of substance and time spent together. While there’s still plenty of passion there’s also a sense of satisfaction in understanding the importance of fidelity and living life together, of raising a family and weathering the challenges of life. This is rock and roll, but it’s not teenage lust or young adult angst. This is rock and rock with depth.


    “Rise Up Singing” is a perfect opening number for the album. It’s like they dropped the soul gauntlet, announcing what you’ll hear – sweet organ, nice guitar (that little strum throughout is just perfect), supportive rhythm, and two intertwined voices. It’s the kind of song that feels fresh and timeless and is a beautiful invitation to the record.

    “Turpentine” funks it up, with those twin guitars and that delicious Byrds-y chime in the chorus. (Please note that everyone loves chiming Byrds-y guitars. REM made a career copping that sound).

    “Heartache on the Line” is a phenomenal mid-tempo ballad. I’ve loved this song from the first time I heard it and still can’t get enough of it. It’s tasteful, it’s subdued and it’s gorgeous. The lyrics are wonderful. And the fade out is aces.

    “Cave Hill Cemetery” is a country blues tune with a gritty, dirty, fantastic lead vocal by Joan. The organ and guitar are sweet throughout but this song is all about Joan.

    “Tennessee Mud” is a nice rocker but what really makes it is one little touch – Jackie’s little bridge at 1:50 – that just takes the song to the next level. Trigger Hippy is full of those little touches and moments that really help a tune reach lift-off and Jackie really brings it this time.

    “Pretty Mess” is exhibit A in why I compare Nick Govrik to Gene Clark. How can something so simple be so beguiling? How can something so sweet be so affecting? Jackie and Joan both deliver perfect lead vocals. This is a truly special song.

    “Pocahantas” is another rocker, this one with a funky “Trampled Underfoot” vibe. It’s a fun tune, featuring another strong Joan vocal, and some nice solos.

    “Dry County” is the tour de force. It’s got the build up & release structure of a “classic” grunge tune but with a pure Americana vibe. The band shows incredible restraint on this tune, taking it slow and resisting the urge to explode until the right time. And when Jackie’s harp finally comes in at 4:30, he drops a perfect riff and the pay-off is intense. This is the most epic tune on the album.

    “Nothing New” features…cowbell…and a robust workout for the guitars. It’s a rocker with twin lead vocals by Jackie & Joan. It’s amazing how well their voices mesh together, whether alternating leads, doubling leads or singing harmony.

    “Ain’t Persuaded Yet” is another countrified blues, with a spooky vibe and a nice tale told by Joan. Nick lays down some really sweet basslines throughout, and this song has a nice sense of atmosphere. Tom’s guitar solo is a great example of how to use a solo to say something rather than just blasting out notes.

    “Adelaide” is the perfect closing number for the album because it makes you want to start the whole thing again. Another Nick tune, he delivers an emotional vocal backed by Joan and some real nice banjo picking. This is another powerful ballad that burrows inside your skull, connecting with you, demanding your attention.


    “Trigger Hippy” is a perfect example of what a great album can do. It can take you on a journey, alternating affecting ballads with energizing rockers and soulful blues. It can show you all of the dimensions of a band, highlighting the various talents of some of the best players and singers in the world. It can reveal heretofore-unknown talents, like Nick Govrik’s absolutely stellar songwriting. It can give you songs that will stay with you forever – songs that will attach themselves to future memories and become an indelible part of your life. Most surprisingly, it can restore your faith in the “music” part of the music business.

    I love these players and I love this album. Listen to it for yourself and if you like it, buy it. The future of the music business is in our hands. It’s up to us to support the art that we want.

    “Trigger Hippy” is definitely art that I want.

    Final Grade: A
  17. dgstrat

    dgstrat Forum Resident

    West Islip, NY
    What a great review. This album really is a throwback. not like a lot of newer artists who are trying to cop a particular sound, or vibe from the 60's, or 70's. It doesn't seem forced in the least. Great songs, and great performances.
  18. southamorican

    southamorican Forum Resident

    São Paulo
  19. dgstrat

    dgstrat Forum Resident

    West Islip, NY
  20. Steve626

    Steve626 Forum Resident

    New York Metro
    This is a great album. I'm a big Joan Osborne fan, and IMO she's never sounded better. Plus, they sound like they're having fun!
    dgstrat, Carserguev and southamorican like this.
  21. Rosskolnikov

    Rosskolnikov Designated Cloud Yeller

    This is a very, very good album. One of the year's best, I think. The guitar player is fantastic.
    DEAN OF ROCK likes this.
  22. dgstrat

    dgstrat Forum Resident

    West Islip, NY
    Absolutely. Tom Bukovac is a great player. Jackie Greene holds his own on guitar, as well. Great stuff!
  23. pghmusiclover

    pghmusiclover Forum Resident

    Glad the vinyl was finally released this week!
  24. Jack

    Jack It’s alright, in fact it’s a gas

    Orange, MA
    Satellite radio plays quite a few tunes from their album; every song I've heard sounds great, so I'm heading out to pick it up.
    ARK likes this.
  25. painted8

    painted8 Forum Resident

    Just picked up the vinyl today over lunch and can't wait to hear it tonight. I saw them live a few months back and loved the show. Great onstage chemistry and when Jackie and Joan dueted on "Don't Let Me Down", I might have had an out-of-body experience. Amazing.
    BluesOvertookMe likes this.

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