Annabel Kean / Friday 19th November, 2021 9:55AM
Recorded at Sublime Studios over four long days and weighing in at 22 tracks heavy, Adam Hattaway And The Haunters‘ bluesy new double album Rooster is a magnificent country beast. Out today on all the usual streaming places just eight months after the Ōtautahi outfit shared their third album Woolston, Texas, Rooster is something of a response and antidote to a far longer than desired release schedule last time around, as well as a way to catch up with their own songwriting speed. As is the case with all good country albums, every track on Rooster comes with a story – there’s the improvisational session with Delaney Davidson that birthed ‘Riding The River’, a day spent searching and failing to find an old friend’s grave, leading to the penning of ‘Bring My Body Back Home’, then there’s the four odd tracks that came to Hattaway in his dreams. Read all about those tales and more in our exclusive Rooster track by track below – you’ll surely find a talking point or two to strike up conversation when you see Hattaway and his Haunters on their nationwide tour this summer…
Adam Hattaway And The Haunters
Friday 26th November – Space Academy, Christchurch w/ Anthea De Milo*
Saturday 27th November – Settlers Hall, Barrytown*
Wednesday 1st December – San Fran, Wellington
Friday 3rd December – Whanganui Musicians Club, Whanganui w/ MeanOwls
Saturday 4th December – Space Ship, Hastings*
Sunday 2nd January – The Space At The Free House, Nelson*
Tuesday 4th January – The Golden Bear, Mapua
Friday 7th January – The Grand, Akaroa
Thursday 27th January – The Wine Cellar, Auckland*
Friday 28th January – YOT Club, Raglan w/ Mini Simmons∞
Saturday 29th January – Lukes Kitchen, Kūaotunu w/ Mini Simmons
Sunday 30th January – Leigh Sawmill, Leigh w/ Mini Simmons∞
*Tickets available HERE via UTR
∞tickets available HERE via UTR
1. Back In Jail
There is another Adam Hattaway. He’s in and out of prison. He inspired this song – I don’t know what his crimes are, so I made them up. This song features Adam on piano, Elmore on Rhodes, and no Guitars! Oh apart from that acoustic. Damnit!
2. ‘Riding The River’
I wrote this one with Delaney Gaviscon [sic]. We sat down and wrote ten or twelve theoretical song titles. We then pressed record for each song and made them all up on the spot. Although we had enough other tunes for this record, the Haunters had been playing it live and really felt, with its roots vibe and straight rock groove, it’d really fit on Rooster! It also features Ratbert on Cowbell. We panned both the creepy whispers and the lead vocals in the bridge left to right all psychedelic like! This song we went most crazy with on the mix actually. Elmore took 3 passes at a guitar solo and we used all 3! They mesh surprisingly well, along with some glammy "Ahhh ha!” BVs and some other BVs in the bridge which Elmore likes to refer to as “Adam the human theremin”.
3. ‘Honor Lee’
This song was written by our good friend Al Park. We just loved the tune and wanted to include it on our album as although there are a lot of country flavours, we wanted just one tune that was out and out classic country, complete with a cheeky yodel at the end.
4. ‘Waiting For The Chill’
This song was recorded feverishly by Elmore and Adam alone in the studio in less than an hour. We found a demo of this song from the previous year and could barely remember it but we thought it was a cool song. Because this song that we barely knew was recorded and changed so quickly, when we heard it back at the end of the sessions, we could barely remember it – this is for me, one of those magic studio moments and probably partly why it’s my favourite song on the record.
5. ‘It’s Hard’
Written as a kinda throwaway in lockdown, this simple fun straight ahead rocker was smashed out in one take, and is also the only song to keep the original guide vocals. It name drops our friend, Christchurch songwriter Laura Lee Lovely. Why? Why the fuck not!
This song came to me in a dream and I based it around the idea of someone wanting to get back home but being torn between that, and starting a new life. Also, the bad Adam Hattaway comes from Atlanta.
7. ‘The Thing’
We like a bit of silly fun. I was gonna sing ‘Tupelo’ by John Lee Hooker but then this just came outta my mouth – go figure.
8. ‘Only Game In Town’
This track, along with ‘Bring my body back home’, ‘Ivory town’, ‘Dial’, ‘Waiting for the chill’ features just Adam on bass, guitar and vocals, and Elmore on drums, percussion and guitar but this song has no overdubs whatsoever. The bridge attempts to venture into Kinks and Beach Boys territory harmonically. The idea of using a bunch of complex chord moves in a country song but staying away from the putrid stench of JAZZ is interesting to us.
9. ‘Keep Walking’
I woke up with this song in my head one day. We’d tried it lotsa different ways but ended up overcooking it. I then played it solo with an acoustic guitar and realised that it needed to be stripped back to that style where it worked best. Of course we couldn’t resist having the full band on it, but it kept its stripped back vibe.
10. ‘Cold Cold Wind’
I wrote this song in a dream. We played a gig in Dunedin in December last year with our friend Flora Knight on fiddle. This song sounded great with her on it, and partly inspired us to go and do this record as we felt we could pull off an old school country sound. Of course, she smashes it on this track!
11. ‘Honey Don’t Lie’
I wrote this song in my dream and I’d been listening exclusively to Waylon Jennings for a couple weeks, and reading his autobiography – go figure! This track was cut in my favourite evening of recording – around midnight over a couple bottles of Sublime made red wine we cut this track, ‘Mama you made a drinker’, ‘It’s hard’… and… something else, I forget. We added horns to a few songs back in CHCH and Auckland – something we’d been hoping would fit back in our music for a long time.
12. ‘It’s Too Late’
This song is the oldest one on the record – written about a year and half earlier, before the Woolston, Texas sessions, it didn’t fit on that record and was also hard to get right live. We switched the feel from swung to straight and nailed it for this record. Features a killer sax solo from the one and only Nick Atkinson. It’s about NOSTALGIA and trying to move forward past those teenage memories.
13. ‘I Hardly Exist’
This song is one of the only to have very few or no overdubs and very little post studio mixing. Something that recording to 4 track lends itself to. The lyrics are pretty self explanatory and come from being straight up depressed.
14. ‘Blood Moon’
We love playing this song live and due to its classic 12 bar blues form, we feel like it wouldn’t have fit on anything BUT a country rock roots double album.
15. ‘Don’t Touch That Dial’
A double album needs dynamics – peaks and troughs in order to keep the journey interesting. This sweet little love song features just Elmore on acoustic guitar, Adam singing and Mike Kime’s bowed double bass. The track omits Elmore’s outburst when he kept messing up the intro – my one regret being not leaving that on the recording!
16. ‘Crime Of The Century’
Elmore sent this track to me in lockdown and I had a go at the vocals for him and sent it back. A great feeling at the time was that we could work together over the internet and keep writing. He was inspired by all the serial killer books he’d been reading.
17. ‘Whatever This Is’
A classic country song at its core funked up a bit with added horns! Adam drunkenly forgot to sing and his comment halfway through the song is legit. We added a fun little trumpet solo to go with the gag afterwards.
18. ‘Ain’t It My Job’
A Liam Quinn penned number – one of only 2 in the Haunters catalogue so far!! It features him on acoustic and Elmore on Bass. Gina, sitting in the control room said “it sounds bit like Wilco’ So I went in and tried to do a Wilco solo, #noregrets!
19. ‘You Made A Drinking Man’
In this song, I imagine the differences and similarities between me and the bad Adam Hattaway. It features Elmore’s kitty kat.
20. ‘Bring My Body Back Home’
We stopped in Temuka on the way down to try to find the grave of a friend who’d taken his life 2 years earlier. A theme that runs consistent in the Haunters music, I wrote this one for Rat who was very close with the song’s subject. The song was only half written but after the strange and sad experience of wandering around the cemetery and unfortunately failing in locating the grave, I sat down on the first night at the studio and finished the song.
Wherever you come and wherever you go, you ain’t got nothing on Elmore Jones.
22. ‘Iv’ry Town’
Ben Woods was telling me how to write songs better and I was getting frustrated and then a little rat swung down on a vine and sung this song in my ear. That of course happened in my dream but this song is as real as blood.
Adam Hattaway And The Haunters’ double album ‘Rooster’ is out today on CD and streaming services.