The Bay Area band was forged around campfires when its members were trekking the John Muir trail in the High Sierras. Those fireside jam sessions became the core of their music, and HBR has been rooted in a love of the natural world ever since.
The group is under no illusions, however: Banjo player Erik Yates has joked that the only way to get a zero-net effect on the environment would be to hold holographic concerts. But the players have been touring on used vegetable oil siphoned from restaurant dumpsters since 2003. Their first biodiesel vehicle was a school bus bought on eBay and outfitted with the help of thirteen students from Vermonts Middlebury College. Now Neil Young and Dave Matthews are among those touring on fry grease, and Willie Nelson has founded the Willie Nelson Biodiesel Company Partnership.
Lyrically, HBR also tackles subjects such as urban sprawl, clear cutting and drinking 3.2 beer in the Colorado Rockies. The band has even collaborated on a campfire sing-along album with another biodegradable act, Orange Sherbet. And as might be expected, HBRs merch is sustainably sourced, so you can be sure the cotton in your concert tee is 100 percent organic.
Catch Hot Buttered Rum tonight at Owsleys Golden Road (2151 Lawrence Street, www.quixotes.com, 303-296-2844), or tomorrow and Wednesday night at the Oriental Theatre (4335 West 44th Avenue, www.theorientaltheater.com, 303-455-2124). Single tickets are $15 in advance and vary from there; multiple-day passes are available. Get details at the phone numbers and web addresses listed here.
Mon., Dec. 29, 2008