“Why you should know them: There's an incredible cornucopia of music in our little part of the New England, so is it possible to say one specific band is the best? Possibly. The Hoolios, a roots/Americana band, are world-class; if you saw them at any venue in the country, opening for or sharing a bill with Wilco or Robert Earl Keen or the Radiators ... well, you'd absolutely believe they deserved to be there. With four- and five-part harmonies, exquisite musicality and Carpenter's melodic muse — his songs are a bittersweet blend of Gulf Coast, New Orleans and Southwestern influences that seem a too-die-for blend of Marty Robbins, the subdudes and Townes Van Zandt — the Hoolios are pretty magical. ”
“In the great, day-glo tapestry that is the New London music scene, Jim Carpenter probably qualifies as the area's Tom Brady. Most Valuable Music Dude. Carpenter is an amazing singer / songwriter / player, as evidenced by his “Bahia Honda,”a disc at once reminiscent of Townes Van Zandt, Robert Earl Keen and the subdudes, and proof of Carpenter as a distinct artist unto himself. He's familiar to local audiences through his longtime work with the Village Jammers, the Rivergods, Vince Thompson, the Full Dempsey and Sandy Allen. Carpenter also heads up the Hoolios, an astounding band that deserves to tour the world's big stages. Carpenter plays tonight at Sneekers in a freewheeling solo gig, but, given his network of friends and pickers, expect quite a bit of talented folks to show up and sit in. ”
“the Hoolios are reminiscent of the subdudes, John Hyatt and Marty Robbins.”
“It's not exactly a Guns N' Roses deal, but it's fair to say a lot of citizens have been waiting a long time for Jim Carpenter to finish work on the long-rumored CD with his most-excellent band, The Hoolios. The time is now. And what's doubly great and unexpected is that Carpenter is releasing two Hoolios albums at the same time - and both are completely distinct from each other. One is called “Rosalie” and the other is “Silver Triangle,” and between them are 20 tracks of Carpenter's all-world, rootsy brilliance. Over time, the exact membership roster of the Hoolios has shifted a bit, but there is a core group of players and an identifiable band flavor to the recordings.”
“With its working-class roots and memories of scuzzy Bank Street bars, New London has always liked its rock 'n' roll played fast and loud. But the newest release in the "Towers of New London" series, dubbed for reasons passing understanding, "Powers of New London," shows off the increasingly diverse sounds coming out of the Whaling City. But where Powers really shines is in its quieter moments, like Roadside Attractions' folksy simpatico "You Ain't Gonna" and Matt Gouette's sublime "Summers Without Mars." New London's singer-songwriters and Americana scene are also well represented here with the Hoolios' "He Walks In Vain" and The Original Sinners' hometown anthem "Wailing City Girl."”
“Birdsall played some Dogbite songs and some works in progress, while Carpenter offered some originals, and generally wowed the crowd and his fellow musicians. "You could see the jaws dropping when Jim played," Birdsall said.”
“The Hoolios do not wear Jolly Jack Tar sailor outfits, and their original material does not revolve around whether the whale harvest will be bountiful this year. Nonetheless, their appearance as the inaugural act in Mystic Seaport's new Music for the Morgan concert series represents a great fusion of live music and an awesome setting. Plus, part of the ticket revenue goes towards the restoration of the Seaport's iconic wooden whaling ship, the Charles W. Morgan. Perhaps the finest of the area's roots acts, the Hoolios simultaneously released two CDs last year, "Silver Triangle" and "Rosalie," which in any just world would have elevated them to national reputation. Perhaps bigger fame is yet to come. In the meantime, in the boatshed on the shores of the Mystic River is a terrific place to experience their music. ”
“ Jim Carpenter is not just one of the area's finest tunesmiths. As a solo artist and as leader of the roots band The Hoolios, Carpenter's songs reflect his Southern upbringing, the Southern literary tradition, and a decided sense of melodic narrative style that recalls Townes Van Zandt, Robert Earl Keen, Steve Forbert, and Marc Cohn. Carpenter had a vivid dream from which he awoke with two lines resonating in his brain: "He gave her roses /She made a crown of thorns" — and immediately thought they'd fit in a novel he was writing. But an incessant melody and a minor-key Delta guitar figure somehow tied themselves to the lines and he knew it would have to be a song. As with most of his compositions, it sort of appeared to him fully formed — melodically and structurally — after he reflected on the initial creative impulses.”
"Sinner's Circle Year One" Sinner's Circle Who they are: The 11 singer-songwriters from the first year's series of Sinner Circle artist-in-the-round acoustic sessions at New London's Bean & Leaf Café: Ben Parent, Liz Larson, Hugh Birdsall, John Fries, Jim Carpenter, Daphne Glover, Sandy Allen, Sue Menhart, Paul Brockett, Anne Castellano, and Nancy Brossard Parent. If you like: The "MTV Unplugged," Nashville-style singer-songwriter roundabouts, the idea that a good song must stand on its own in cored-down fashion. Recommended tracks: Jim Carpenter's "Sweet Amanda," Nancy Brossard Parent's "Widow," John Fries' "Jet Lag," Hugh Birdsall's "Take Me Home." Info: sinnerscircle.net.
“The Hoolios are dependably wonderful masters of melodic roots rock and the Attractions just released a sweet debut EP called "Whispers." The Attractions will also indulge a zydeco fascination as the Swamp Doctors with the help of a few members of the Can Kickers.”
“Disc Two is, from my perspective, the stronger collection. Almost every song works - both on its own and in the overall tapestry of the other 19 tunes. "Ride to Nowhere" is Gone For Good's latest homage to the Cheap Trick legacy, and Dogbite fuse Buddy Holly and the Old '97s on "Electrified." "I Can't Drink Enough," by the always-excellent Jim Carpenter & Hoolios, polishes Gulf Coast gospel as filtered through a whisky bottle. Daphne Lee Martin & Raise the Rent's lovely "Rosalita" sounds like the Texas Tornados if they replaced Freddie Fender with Linda Ronstadt.”
“As for being able to include 40 different artists on "The Long Hundred," Rich Martin, founder and chieftan of Cosmodemonic Records, says, "The thing that always strikes me with the compilations is the diversity of our musical community here in New London County. We really cover so many ends of the musical spectrum here without too much focus on any one genre like you might find in other 'scenes.' We've got it all." As varied as the musical styles are, a particularly intriguing aspect of the collection is the mix of new and old artists. The immortal godfathers of the scene, The Reducers, are infectiously represented with a new song called "Sound of the City," Americana wizards Jim Carpenter & the Hoolios present the sudsily autobiographical "I Can't Drink Enough," and roots-pop stalwarts the Rivergods present "Big C."”
“The idea of the series is to take advantage of the vast stylistic array of songwriters and bands in this very fertile music scene and explore the individual creative processes and the always-different craft of composition — without any judgement on our part in term of genre or message. Jim Carpenter of the Hoolios is pretty generally regarded by our entire musical community as one of its finest songwriters — a guy with a national pedigree whose work is competitive in a global context. In the analysis and biography of his song “He Gave Her Roses,” Carpenter touches on a magnificent number of elements that went into the song: The cobwebbed segue between dreams, art and storytelling; the occasional and dark connection between religion and insanity; the blend of sudden and unbidden creative urges with hard work and the refinement of an idea; and the revelation that familial legacy is a reward for a lifetime's work — rather than riches and stardom.”
“There is one original tune on the CD, "Unhappy Holiday," written by Jim Carpenter. Carpenter also sings the lead vocals and plays guitar on the bittersweet song about a relationship that ended before the holiday. The song is embellished by Nashville artists John Mock (originally form Montville) on Irish flute and Carole Rabinowitz on cello. "Jim is a fantastic songwriter. He usually writes in a very different vein than Christmas music and I had to push him to do it," Manca says. "It's a great song and really tugs at your heartstrings."”
“Don't know if you've got an abacus or calculator. Hell, maybe you're one of those types that has one of those computer thingies. The point is: by now, the incredibly popular Sinners Circle, a songwriters-in-the-round series, has featured about 4,000 tunesmiths of all styles. It's cool, then, that the original Sinner quartet - Jim Carpenter, Hugh Birdsall, John Fries and Ben Parent - will reconvene Monday to help the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center's inaugural Cabin Fever show of the season. Cabin Fever shows are famous as terrific winter time outings, and the Sinners will throw down both electric and acoustic sets.”
"Friday Night Folk returns to All Souls Unitarian Universalist Congregation in New London with a performance by Richard Shindell. Shindell is a truly versatile and e'er questioning musician whose twinkling compositional eyes focus with moody, literate intensity on all manners of topical subjects from politics and war to prejudice and religion. "Not Far Now" is his most recent album release, and songs such as "One Man's Arkansas" and "Juggler Out in Traffic" are emblematic of his gift. Local favorite Jim Carpenter - he of Hoolios renown - opens the show, which begins at 8 p.m.