Music Scene: Gogol Bordello, Hooten Hallers, Larry Keel Experience

Gogol Bordello

Had Eugene Hutz’s journey to becoming a celebrated songwriter and frontman not been real, it might have just been a mythic fable comprised of wandering musical blacksmiths and horse traders, nuclear disaster and the balance of fate and chance left to an enigmatic nomad. Lucky for us, it’s the true story behind the seminal gypsy-punk band Gogol Bordello.

Hutz spent his first years in Boyarka, a small town in north-central Ukraine, before the Chernobyl meltdown forced his family into a desperate leapfrog between refugee camps throughout Europe.

While Hutz’s mother’s family is a descendant of the gypsy tribe Servo Roma, a group most well-known for its blacksmithing and horse trading, Hutz began taking an interest in music from his father, a butcher and guitarist for one of Ukraine’s first rock bands.

After seven years in the camps, the family was granted political asylum by the United States and moved to Vermont in 1992 through a resettlement offer to refugees of the crisis. His mother, father and cousin arrived with few possessions, a sparse knowledge of American culture, and a brief catalog of the English language they learned from listening to American, Australian and British music, of which Hutz credits Nick Cave, Johnny Cash, The Pogues and Leonard Cohen as being the most influential.

By 1999, Hutz had moved to New York and assembled Gogol Bordello, which stood ready to release its debut studio album, “Voi-La Intruder,” produced by Cave himself. The album and its biggest hit, “Start Wearing Purple,” catapulted the band to a long stand as critical favorites and began to attract a growing fan base.

The octet has since released seven albums, including its latest, 2013’s “Pura Vida Conspiracy,” which extended the band’s success with critics by receiving high praise from reviewers.

Gogol Bordello will perform Tuesday at the Music Farm, 32 Ann St., with Fly Golden Eagle. Tickets are $26-$28 and are available at the Music Farm box office or online at Doors open at 8 p.m.; show starts at 9 p.m.

Go to or call 577-6989 for more information.

Born out of Middle America’s heartland country, there isn’t much else like the rockabilly-blues trio The Hooten Hallers.

The Missouri-based band formed in 2006 behind a dedication for reviving sounds and instruments from rock ’n’ roll, blues and soul music’s past, and quickly became a local favorite known for its offbeat arrangements and frenetic live shows.

The gravelly, manic growls of vocalist John Randall give way to Honus Honus of Man Man and Tom Waits comparisons while harmonica and tuba player Paul Weber and stand-up drummer Andy Rehm hold down a truly unique rhythm section, all lending perfectly to the best oddities found in underground, underrated music. By the end, The Hooten Hallers stands before jaw-dropped first timers and prove that originality doesn’t have to be without good music.

The Hooten Hallers will perform Friday at The Royal American, 970 Morrison Drive, with Lily Slay and Johnny Delaware. There’s a $5 cover at the door.

Go to or call 817-6925 for more information.

More than a decade before the award-winning flatpicking guitarist Larry Keel began his most well-known group, Larry Keel and Natural Bridge, in 2005, the bluegrass guitarist’s talent had already taken him around the world in his musical journey.

Keel first emerged from the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia in the unlikely settings of Japan at the age of 18. Employed as a bluegrass guitarist for Tokyo Disneyland, Keel performed six shows a day, six days a week, to curious spectators, most of which had never even heard of bluegrass.

After returning to the states, Keel made his way to the Telluride Bluegrass Festival in Colorado and won first place in the festival’s renowned guitar contest. After several years of performing with a multitude of bands and other bluegrass musicians, Keel has revived his outfit of the mid-’90s, the traditional-minded progressive project known as the Larry Keel Experience.

The Larry Keel Experience will perform Saturday at The Pour House, 1977 Maybank Highway, with Dangermuffin. Tickets are $15 in advance, $18 the day of the show, and are available online at

Go to or call 571-4343 for more information.