American Hollar Photos Contact American Hollar


American Hollar is a Roots/Americana Alt-Country band from the Southern end of York County, Pennsylvania. The band was founded by it's front man and main contributing songwriter, Michael S. Males in 2008.

"American Hollar is the creation of My Rural Radio's Mike Males. A collaboration of musicians to weave a tale of Mike's adventurous life. These guys are extremely unique, truly poetic and very much american. Their style is considered Americana mixed with Alternative Country with a little Bluegrass tossed in. But their styles blend to make a sound that can only be categorized as American Hollar." ~ Rob Simon, 105.7 the X

Their songs are written about everything from life to love, gain to loss, good times to bad with a little bit of THC mixed in where needed.

In the Spring of 2014, American Hollar released their very first studio record, "The Things You Can't Change" which was recorded at Sleepy Hollow Studio in Delta, Pa with Sean Fifer on drums and vocals, Chad Flaharty on upright bass, Denny Wedekind on guitar and vocals, Jeff Stike on guitar, Jeff Kidd on mandolin and Jeff Hostetter on the resonator guitar and vocals.

Currently the band is finishing a FREE DIGITAL EP titled "Squinter" and a second studio project at Seventh Wave Studios with Jason Rubal. The LONG AWAITED studio versions of "The Devil's Train" and "Vera Lynn" will arrive in the winter of 2015 along with a compilation of new songs written over the last year.

September 2015 - American Hollar picks up Jesse Greenwood as the main guitar and banjo picker.

The Current American Hollar is a Mike Males on Rhythm Guitar and Vocals, Jesse Greenwood on Guitar/Banjo and Vocals, Cliff Tyler on Bass. A floating line up of auxiliary players accompany the Hollar on percussion and additional guitars.


Album Review:
The Things You Can’t Change

by Ink in Stereo

http://inkinstereo.com/american-hollar-things-change/#comment-537

With the revolution of Americana roots pouring through the public’s speakers lately it’s only a matter of time before everyone is doing it. Sure, there are a sea of bands playing folk, bluegrass, country or some amalgam of multiple genres resulting in a mixture of traditional and non-traditional. The thing is, is that the public desire is like a roaring fire, boiling away the junk that doesn’t cut it, most of the time at least. So when I say that American Hollar has been at this for a bit, with members that are stoking the fire while being in the pot, you need only listen to “The Things You can’t Change” to get what I mean. This is a group of guys, some who have influenced the growing community of musicians, while playing some of the best americanafolkbluegrasswhateverelseyouthink around. (That’s a real genre, I promise)

Quick background: American Hollar started in 2008 by Mike Males (who also founded myruralradio.com) and has with it, a cast and crew of musicians, some regular some not so regular. They have been featured in a few magazines, interviews, and have about 40 some odd songs under their belt. They are also located in the southern York area. They get around, playing shows all throughout the area and some afar (like other states). Ok, back to the album!

The album was produced locally in Delta PA at Sleepy Hollow Sound, and sounds great. There are a mixture of instruments on this album, most are stringed instruments. You can tell from the playing, they all know what they are doing; the musicianship is wonderful. One thing about americanafolkbluegrasswhateverblah is that you can easily step on toes if you aren’t careful, and if you get a little off beat, everyone knows it and you can feel it in the song. On this album, each member knows their parts, and their parts are well separated so that no one is butting in line, and no one is the star. This is a collaboration of musicians in celebration of the arts, and carrying the weight of the songs on each other shoulders. The sound of the disc may vary from tune to tune, but never strays far from the core of the band’s sound. If I had one criticism, I have but one, small, teeny nitpick: I wish the songs were more open, it almost feels as if this was done in a small room. I love the openness acoustic instruments give off in a live open setting and if recorded right get some amazing sounds. All that aside, I don’t care “The Things You can’t Change” is still an amazing listen on a Friday afternoon with a cold brew, or any day of the week….with a cold one.

The track I particularly enjoyed the most was “Remember Me”. The first thing that stood out to me, is that this one feels like it was written from such a deep place. Now all this is purely subjective, but your in my world now. Through out all the tunes, the vocals come across so honest and pure, but in this song there is something more, I feel. Even in the music playing it takes it’s time, just to get the point across to the listener. It’s such a heavy tune, just facing the things you must but wish you didn’t have to, or at least I think.. Through the whole of this song there is a backbone, a steady rhythm section with a few leads placed in to break it up, and it’s just wonderful, absolutely wonderful.

Most of the things I review on this site, I just adore, so I tried honestly to find something I was neutral to. I’m not a huge fan of country, and to me at first, this border lined on what is country (not that nu-metal nickleback “country”). But you know, after a few listens, I am really enjoying this disc. The song that hit it for me is defiantly “Remember Me”, although I can’t say any of the others hit me the right way, they certainly grew on me. The sheer honesty in this album, take the intro to “Sweet Baby’s Arms”, the false start left in there, just awesome. I love the attitude, and that’s what won me over to them. If you already like country, more so in the traditional sense, you’ll just love these guys; and if your a fan of all types of music, please check out American Hollar, they will not let you down. And I want them on my show so, Mike, if you read this, come on in!

You can check out their album here!

Enjoy Inklings!

-Ink




Podcast #129: American Hollar and Shawnama Cinema
by Jason Mundok • April 7, 2014

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN NOW

TriStateIndie.com Archives for American Hollar

ROCKING THE BOAT Mike Males
Published: October 2011 Story: By John Duffy
Photo: Fly Magazine photo by Justin Graybill

Mike Males is a walking contradiction.

He lives in the rolling hills of eastern York County - that piece of wide open green between I-83 and the Susquehanna River that nobody passes through unless they're lost. He was raised in the same house in which he now lives. It's a situation that allows Males the comfort of home, friends, company and faces he knows.

At the same time, Males lives squarely in the digital world. As a musician, promoter, graphic designer and all-around scene-maker, Males can do what he wants and still be who he is - a rare combination of working class rural and plugged-in urban.

He knows that the power of technology and social media can bring an idea to reality quickly and efficiently, but he also knows that real creativity needs no Wi-Fi connection.

At 41 years old, he has found a way to live where that kind of combination is no longer in conflict. During working hours, he can do business with global clients like the PGA Tour and BMW and, at the same time, be just 15 minutes away from some of the best, most secret native trout waters in Pennsylvania - which is where Males is taking me today, after we meet up at his office in a strip mall space in Stewartstown.

Males' office is poorly lit but cozy, with quite a bit of high-tech gadgetry and a faded yellow couch he found on the side of the road. From this space, he operates a growing list of cross-format creative ventures. He runs Sunken Treasure Design, a company he started in May of 2008. This spot is also the nerve center of MyRuralRadio.com, an Internet radio station he launched in July of 2008 that's dedicated to playing original music by unsigned, independent talent.

Blowing off the rest of the workday at four o'clock to take me fishing, Males says we need to make one stop first. "I've got to get my waders," he says. He doesn't seem the kind of guy to avoid getting his feet wet. After all, work attire is a black wife-beater, jeans and biker boots.

After driving the backroads to his house, he stops in to change into his "waders," which are actually a ratty pair of cammo shorts and some old sneakers. Opening the trunk of his car reveals a guitar case, fishing gear and a set of golf clubs.

"Everything I need for fun at the drop of a hat," he says with a laugh. Once we're out on the water, he explains what led to the beginnings of MyRuralRadio.com, the venture that first got him involved in music in Central Pennsylvania.

"We were going out and seeing amazing musicians play who didn't really have an outlet aside from the bar scene," he says. "I don't know anything about antennae but I know the web, so we started an Internet radio station."

The station leans heavily on Americana - folk, roots rock, bluegrass - but Males is open to any kind of original music. Within months of MyRuralRadio.com going live, he was putting together the station's first outdoor festival. In two years, the event - held every October at Naylor Winery in Stewartstown - has raised nearly $5,000 dollars for the Children's Miracle Network. MyRuralRadio.com Fall Music Festival III takes place October 22, with 17 bands performing on three stages. "This year I'd really like to do $10,000," Males says.

In surrounding himself with all this music, it was natural that Males would turn to music himself … again. One day he found himself wanting to pick up the guitar. "I had one as a teenager but never did anything with it, really. Then I decided to take it up again. I felt
I had something in me to perform." He bluffed his way through a couple of open mic appearances around York, quickly receiving encouragement.

"I found myself surrounded by really talented people who I wanted to play with." What developed is American Hollar, Males' country-rock band - or rather Males' "audio project," as he refers to it, meaning that what it is and what it will be is something open to discussion.

The band features a number of area music vets, including Jeff Hostetter, Scott Platts, Sean Fifer and Rod Goelz. Males' daughters - Megan, 13, and Cameron, 10 - have even sat in. Males sings simple songs that echo the triumphs and setbacks of life in a voice you'd swear came out of John Prine.

In addition to all of his projects, Males now has a live music TV program in the works that he hopes to shop around to cable or public television next year. As with his radio station and his festival, he hopes the show encourages people to seek out genuine and original live music.

"It's going to be about regular people who have regular jobs but still write and perform and record and do this all on their own dime because it's what they believe in," he says. "One song can change someone's life. I'm just trying to increase the chances of that happening for people. Everybody has a story worth telling."

Males' own story is as good as any: Good ol' boy does well for himself with an unlikely talent for commercial art and finds a rewarding career. His talents led him to a position with a marketing firm in suburban Maryland. He had several expensive cars and was doing design work for big-name clients like BMW and the PGA Tour. But in hindsight, he says, it was too good to be true.

"I lived on a golf course," he says. "It was like putting a square peg in a round hole. I did what I needed to do to fit in, but it always seemed so tongue in cheek."

Concentrating more on the fish he's trying to hook than our conversation, Males' thoughts wander as he works a spinnerbait through the water. After several frustrating minutes of trying to catch one elusive trout, Males leaves the lunker alone. "I should be happy just to be out here to see something like that."

Back in his Maryland days, he had it good, and he knows it. "I thought I was bigger than everything else until I was put in my place. I lost it all through a bad business deal."

He freely admits to some blame in the incident. "There was a lot of drinking," he says, keeping the details to himself but divulging that he lost his house, lost his business and the life he had built over the previous four years.

But he still had his talents after the fallout, and he never lost his hometown connections. Within a week of returning to Stewartstown and regrouping in 2008, Males had Sunken Treasure Design up and running, the name cribbed from the title of a Wilco song.

It all seems pretty unlikely, going from a player in the corporate world to roots rock musician, successful grassroots promoter and DIY radio programmer in under three years. But having convinced himself he had to be something else in order to succeed, only to painfully learn how fragile that success was, Males determined he would never do it again. "If you have an idea and you don't try it, you'll be living with regret five years down the road," he says.

If it seems like he's got an overwhelming number of irons in the fire, it's the balance of comfortable patterns and new challenges Males relishes. "I may be up playing music until three in the morning one night and then the next day be in a corporate meeting," he says. "But all of them are creative situations. I tend to do best when I'm focusing on a lot of different things." Sometimes, he admits, saying no to himself is still a hard thing to do.

Back at our fishing spot, as the evening creeps up over the hills, Males focuses on a particular hole, insisting there's at least one decent trout in there. He attacks it with precision and patience, yet barely contained excitement, dropping his lure in impossibly tight spaces only to come up empty-handed.

Thinking we should've brought live bait instead, he leaps behind a log and comes back seconds later with a worm. He casts the bait and lets it drift along the backside of a fallen tree. Yes, he can see fish behind sunken logs. But, finally, he gives up. "We've scared him enough, he's not gonna bite."

Later, heading back to the car, that last fish keeps dogging Males. "I swear he was 14 inches long …" Then he pauses to reconsider his measurement, pulling on his smoke. "But of course, nothing makes a fish bigger than almost being caught."


From 105.7 the X Fall Jam 2013

"American Hollar is the creation of My Rural Radio's Mike Males. A collaboration of musicians to weave a tale of Mike's adventurous life. These guys are extremely unique, truly poetic and very much american. Their style is considered Americana mixed with Alternative Country with a little Bluegrass tossed in. But their styles blend to make a sound that can only be categorized as American Hollar."

You will love what they bring to Fall Jam 2013.


Fall Jam 2013 photo by Dawne Walker

Mike Males, Like a Wagon Wheel
Written by Amy L. Mummert,
Music Promoter, York, PA

Based on an interview in March 2010

Mike Males, or as some of his friends call him, “Radio Mike,” is a multi-dimensional person, who amounts to much more than a compilation of the factual data found in a bio. He is a successful businessman—sharp, clever, and articulate—and ever-even through-and-through. Yet for as staid and controlled—almost predictable--as he is as a businessman, Mike is immeasurably aleatory when seen socially—perhaps out playing a gig or at an open mic.

Mike is one of the few who can shame even my propensity for the verbose--or just find quiet repose in a corner alone with his thoughts;
be puppet-master over the most puckish of imps--or suddenly say the most unanticipated, surprise-sensitive thing; bring down the house with the funniest story anyone had heard all week—or pull a tear to tip of one's eye with an authentic anecdote about hard times.


Mike Males with J.D. Sage Photo courtesy of Liz ANglada

Yet with Mike, these disparities find accord. Think of a wagon wheel where each individual spoke points in a different direction. Yet when wrighted, they create a wheel with singular direction and purpose.
It is perhaps when playing his original music that the seemingly contradictory parts of Mike are most perfectly at play: passion with control, showmanship with reverence.

Before Open Mic
Mike's bio reads pretty much like anyone else's—loved music, participated in school chorus, sang with prior bands, was exposed to a diversity of music, and so on...BUT, unlike so many others, Mike's story got interesting. It really started when he took a big leap out of his comfort zone into the risky business of learning to play the guitar as an adult.

In March 2008, Mike, at age 37, found himself in a music store buying a guitar. “I didn't even know how to hold it right...,” Mike admitted to me (smiling wildly). At home with his new toy-contraption, he first tried to think of a song that he especially liked. It was “Wagon Wheel.” Using a chord and fingering chart, Mike taught himself to play “Wagon Wheel,” fingering by fingering; chord by chord—one note at a time. He had caught the fever, and he continued to teach himself how to play a few songs.

It was soon after that that Mike went to his first open mic, only to find that he didn't have a way to plug-in his guitar. Scared to death, he muddled through. “It was like a monkey playing with a hand grenade. You didn't want to look away, but you didn't want to watch,” he laughed. Initially, he was scared enough to quit. Soon, however, he “got the full fever for playing” and started playing all the time.

Months passed.
It was later in 2008 that Mike moved back to York, Pennsylvania. That summer in York passed with Mike--suddenly--not even playing guitar. As a matter of fact, he hadn't even thought about playing guitar that entire summer as he kayaked and camped his time away. Distracted by having so many new things to do, he could, perhaps, have never picked up that guitar again, were it not for a serendipitous adventure...

Opened Mike
In November 2008, Scott Platts was hosting a weekly open mic at The First Capital Dispensing Company on Wednesday nights. Mike recalls that although he hadn't brought his own guitar, Scott—who had never met Mike until this point--gave his own guitar to Mike. Two years later, he remembers that he started playing a Wilco song (“I'm Trying Break Your Heart”) and “halfway through the song, Scott plugged in and started playing with me.” In this instant, Mike went from audience of one in his bedroom to playing with a band on-stage at The First Cap. As he started his next song, “Wagon Wheel,” Scott continued to play with him, Tony Cannon then joined on saxophone, and finally Yvon on the djembe. He likened the feeling to that of his “first open mic—times one thousand”; again, wildly smiling.

Fondly, he recalled that after the open mic, Scott encouraged him to “keep coming out” and he let Mike know about another open mic at Victor's Italian Restaurant on Thursday nights. “It really meant a lot to me,” he smiled.
As Mike recounted the beginning of his story (animated and wildly smiling throughout), it was obvious that this open mic experience was particularly pivotal for him.

Mike Unplugged
Not only did Mike return to The First Cap on a weekly basis, he also frequented the open mic at Victor's. The open mics were a veritable petris dish for working on new songs, especially before performing them at a gig. Mike soon became friends with the open mic scene folks. In time, he became one of the mainstays. And as the momentum continued growing and growing, again, something happened.

Recalling the exact date (December 4, 2008), Mike participated in what would become his last open mic for almost six months. “I got into a little trouble,” he says, “but it was a life-changing event. I had half a year to think about my life. How many people get the chance to do that?”

Several months later, (again recalling the exact date, May 19, 2009), Mike began to write his first original song. “A Better Life,” was written for his two children (Meagan, 11 and Cameron, 8). A product of six months of reflection, it introduced a theme that continued throughout Mike's later works: wanting to lead a better life for himself and his children.

Finally, Mike returned to his friends in the open mic scene, this time with something completely different—his original music. “Hey, I've got something I really want you to hear tonight...I wrote my first original song, and I want your opinion on it,” he told me. And in that performance, untried wheels held steady.


American Hollar on Facebook American Hollar on Twitter American Hollar on You Tube American Hollar on Reverbnation



Sunken Treasure Design


MyRuralRadio.com
RuralRadioRecords
a MyRuralRadio.com Production