THE PINE HILL HAINTS – TO WIN OR LOSE


Hailing from Auburn, Alabama and named after the cemetery where they used to practice The Pine Hill Haints has been turning out what they call Alabama Ghost Music since 2000. AIV covered them here on 9B when he discovered them by accident as an opening act back in 2007. I have to admit I hadn’t read that piece until I searched today to see if they had been mentioned here. I discovered them by accident this week but through different circumstances. These folks didn’t seem like the usual 9B fare on first listen but the second time through the album I began to understand that they were more then a single listen could contain. While not the gothabilly vibe that AIV like they are dark in their own way and their self-defined Alabama Ghost Music is more than fitting.

Fronted by Jamie Barrier and his lovely wife (on washboard) Katie “Kat” Barrier along with Matt Bakula on washtub bass and tenor banjo, and Ben on snare drum it is apparently not uncommon for former members to show up and join the Haints on stage during shows. From traditional bluegrass sounds to tracks that seem like someone tossed some little swimmers from The Reverend Horton Heat, Buckwheat Zydeco, and Niick Cave into a test tube, grabbed a turkey baster, and impregnated Lucinda Williams they manage to not turn their ghost songs and murder ballads into shtick. To Win Or Lose has a decidedly southern flavored offering with lyrics flow through topics like figuring out how much drink it will take to rid oneself of memories of an evil lover mingling with the happy go lucky sounds of the banjo and squeeze-box leaving a body oddly upbeat after the dark poetry. It’s honestly one of the stranger albums I have come to enjoy recently. The lyrics, if you read them while listening to the music, wouldn’t seem to fit but once you slap on some headphones and give it a good listen you realize that there’s some magic there. Aside from their original work on this album they also toss in a cover of Woody Guthrie’s The Ranger’s Command rounding out and already damn fine album. But don’t take my word for it check out the tracks below.

The Pine Hill Haints – Never Gonna Die
The Pine Hill Haints – Scar
The Pine Hill Haints – How Much Poison Does It Take

After listening to this album I really want to see these guys live. I’m just sayin’…

The Pine Hill Haints on MySpace
Razorcake interview with Jamie Barrier