Review by Michael Scott Cain; Rambles.NET
Here's Your Hat
Jeff Mamett began playing out when he was 13, working bars and dances with older musicians. For years he did everything a working musician does: moved to LA and then to Nashville, doing session work, playing clubs and touring as a sideman in other artists' bands.
Then the kids started coming and he decided he needed to be home, so he went into the cattle business. When the kids were safely launched, he played a few songs at an open-mic night and caught the fever again. The result is this album.
Mamett calls himself an authentic traditional country singer and claims to be influenced by writers such as Guy Clark, Townes Van Zandt (whose signature song, "Pancho & Lefty" appears on this disc,) Billy Joe Shaver and the rest of the outlaw writers and performers. His own sound, though, lacks the hard edge, the cutting anti-establishment attitude those guys brought to their music. Mamett bring a softer approach; vocally and as a writer, he harkens back to artists like Hank Snow and Hank Williams.
In fact, this album could have come out during the late 1950s, when country music was a distinct sound, when fiddles hadn't yet become violins and backgrounds had not been filled with the Anita Kerr Singers. It sounds like a album that was released before the Country Music Association decided they had to soften or destroy the sound in order to sell more records to a more sophisticated audience.
Listening to Jeff Mamett, you feel that no matter who he lists, he is more influenced by the likes of Hank Thompson and Red Steagel, whose song "About Horses & Wars" he covers beautifully.
Mamet's voice adds to the pleasure. It's flat, weathered as down-home as corn fields. His is not a set of pipes that sell a song; instead, he nudges it along, letting the words speak for themselves. He doesn't ever call attention to his singing; Mamet knows the song itself is what counts.
Acoustic guitars solo next to electric ones and everything sounds wonderfully aged, as though it had been soaking for a dozen years in a barrel of whiskey.
These are wonderful, well-played arrangements. Just listening to the band brings a blend of freshness to the old stuff, manifesting a humorous, light-hearted tone that is a pleasure to hear.
If you want to hear genuine country music, the way it was written and played before it was taken over by washed up '70s rockers and international corporations, Jeff Mamett is your man.
Blue Suede News #107 Winter 2015/'16
Jeff Mamett / Here's Your Hat
And here's some REAL Country music too! That's right,
fiddle and steel guitar (or dobro), nice clean and punchy recording too! Jeff's the bass player, singer, and songwriter,
had a history playing clubs, touring and trying out L.A. and Nashville. After a long hiatus to raise cattle and a family he
turned up at some open mikes and got the encouragement it took to put this CD together. My personal thanks to all those who participated in that encouragement, and in helping record this! I like his original songs, with titles like "No More Tears," "Hot Tamales," and his baritone vocals as well. Since he's been a cow wrangler, titles like "Horses and Wars" come very naturally. I'd sure go hear him play live with this band, and so would you if you love the REAL Country music. I'm sure glad the cover made me decide to try this out! The one non-original song on the 12 song CD is Townes Van Zandt's "Pancho an Lefty." Jeff also plays acoustic guitar on a bunch of these, and harmonica on the last song, and his own background vocals are on several. "The Writing's On The Wall" reminds me of another of my favorite discoveries, Tom Armstrong. A bit of mandolin appears later on "High and Lonesome." The title song actually is a slow Rock beat, but probably works perfectly for some of the line dancing. "Wanna Stay Mad" also has some Rock feel, but he closes on another tune with the fiddle. I like this guy, and his music! Jeffmamett.com -MB
Review by Marc Bristol
(*note - "About Horses and Wars" was written by Red Steagall)
Copyright © Jeff Mamett
PA Musician Magazine May 2016 review by Jim Price
JEFF MAMETT – HERE’S YOUR HAT (no label) In a modern age where so-called “country” music features digital samples, hip-hop and rock dynamics; new artists who honor traditional, old-school country music are becoming a scarce commodity. Enter northcentral PA-based singer/songwriter Jeff Mamett. Influenced early on by the singing cowboys, Gene Autry and Roy Rogers, Jeff became a fan of Hank Williams, Lefty Frizzell, Guy Clark, Lyle Lovett and others. He learned guitar and played bass in bands during his younger years, before entering the cattle business as he started raising a family. His interest in music rebooted after an open mic night three years ago, Jeff wrote songs toward his debut album, Here’s Your Hat. Produced by Jeff, the disc’s sound is very much traditional country and western swing over its dozen tracks; acoustic, electric and steel guitars are constant in the mix, as well as bursts of piano, harmonica, mandolin, fiddle, dobro and more. Jeff’s rugged baritone voice returns listeners to that classic country and western era, and touches of studio reverb recall 1950s and 1960s-era recordings. Jeff’s lyrics follow traditional country themes, including happy and sad love odes, rural and western settings and stories, and more. He celebrates special ladies with the upbeat honky-tonk opener “Isla Mae” and the Tex-Mex-toned “Hot Tamales,” and the joys of horses and the outdoors on the galloping “Watchin’ Our Ponies.” But he closes the book on other love interests on “No More Tears” and the western swing-driven “The Writing’s On the Wall,” profiles a troubled youth on “Careless Boy,” and pays homage to a fallen soul on the mandolin-flavored “High and Lonesome.” He celebrates the western storyteller tradition with updates of Red Steagall’s “About Horses and Wars” and Townes Van Zandt’s “Pancho and Lefty.” Jeff steps toward the rock spectrum twice, on the hard-punching title track “Here’s Your Hat,” and the lighter country-rock of “Wanna Stay Mad.” Jeff’s presentation sounds sincere and authentic, and his arrangements capture the atmosphere of roots country. The mix is clean and clear, and all the instrumental components shine brightly. For country fans wondering where true country has gone, Jeff Mamett provides an answer on Here’s Your Hat; this is the real deal. (The CD can be obtained through the website www.jeffmamett.com.)
Here's Your Hat – 2015 ( Self-released)
Reviewed by Jeff Lincoln
Country Standard Time
Every once in a while, it's nice to find a singing cowboy that really is a cowboy. Along with gigs from L.A. to Pa., indie artist Jeff Mamett has mainly paid the bills in the cattle business. He's no greenhorn - in fact, Mamett's giant soupstrainer of a moustache has long gone silver. But he deftly applies the lessons learned from being close to riding and roping to his homegrown songs. There's authenticity in spades, not to mention long years of crackerjack musicianship, in the recipe.
The album kicks off with "Isla Mae" a honky tonk blazer with guitar-licks aplenty. Thanks to some studio magic, Mamett runs frets on both lead guitar and bass.
Mamett's musical passions fall squarely with classic C&W. But he's still game to explore other sonic pastures. The title track's drum and organ combo aims for a more modern rock stroll (it would mash up nicely with Garbage's "Stupid Girl"). A bright mandolin shines on "High and Lonesome," and the chosen chords bring the spirit of Jerry Garcia back for a little while. Mamett tips his hat a little more overtly with two cover tunes, including the immortal "Pancho and Lefty." A clever cowboy might stay clear of that one - it's already been branded by some of the all-time best. Things land a little closer to the pin with "About Horses and Wars," taking us back to 1970s-era Texas cowboy singer Red Steagall.
Some artists have a straight 50-50 split in their singing and songwriting talent. That's not the case here, and Mamet's much more a poet than a crooner. There's a croak at the bottom of his register - some might more gently refer to it as a gravelly delivery. You'll either find it distinctive and charming or a distraction. Either way, vocally, his best moment's on the higher perch of "Wanna Stay Mad." But there's no denying Mamett's more than a moonlighting cowboy when he pens lines like on the waltzing closer, "Withered and Died": I wake up each morning to a life that I dread/All for chasing a rainbow/That lived in my head. © Country Standard Time • Jeffrey B. Remz, editor & publisher • email@example.com
MUSIC MORSELS REVIEWS - Sept. 14, 2015
Jeff Mamett – “Here’s Your Hat”Jeff Mamett – “Here’s Your Hat”
Jeff Mamett obviously loves the roots of country music. By roots I mean the western swing roots, those that seem to escape many of today’s homogeneous sounding performers. Jeff’s music is a bit more than nostalgia though, as he also seems to draw influences from the more Americana singer-songwriters with a subtly humorous touch to some of the more usual country subjects. Songs like the honky-tonk shuffle “No More Tears,” the snappy “Hot Tamales,” and the deft rock hybrid title track show that he has a solid songwriting talent pool to draw from. His tribute to the late great Townes Van Zandt is an emotional version of the classic “Pancho and Lefty.” What really makes these songs stand out is Jeff’s rich baritone warble, like a more melodic Johnny Cash with a dash of Waylon thrown in for good measure. While this music may be more popular with those who prefer the classic country sound, it has a comforting but still peppy vibe that will catch the ear of the more modern country lovers. A very entertaining debut effort. – MW