The last time The Hourglass Cats (THC) dropped an EP, Jan Brewer was still governor, KONGOS wasn't platinum yet, Black Carl was still together, and Sheriff Joe ... was still sheriff.
But that's neither here nor there. THC hasn't released an official EP or LP since 2012, though it has released three singles in that time.
In those long four years, lead singer and guitarist Cori Rios says the Phoenix-based reggae/rock act has gone through 13 band members and played countless shows. But even with all the membership turnover, THC has been able to consistently grow year after year.
In recent years, The Hourglass Cats managed to make their way on to the main stage at McDowell Mountain Music Festival, toured California more than 12 times, and made its first trek into Mexico.
The wait is now over. The Hourglass Cats will celebrate the release of a new set of songs on Saturday, March 26, at Rebel Lounge.
The new record, Portraits of Cats, is a good measuring stick for the band's growth over the past few years. It features many Cats, new and old, and shows off the wide range of musical styles that the band incorporates in their music.
The upcoming record doesn't have a single song with current THC bass player Seth Gory on it, since former bass player Jason Sessler laid down the bass lines long before bolting for a life in Alaska. On drums, original THC drummer "Hot" Karl Maier lays down beats on “Too Damn Rude,” and Veragroove drummer Johnny Groove (on “Be That Way,” and “Been Thinking”) and Future Loves Past drummer and current THC go-to percussionist Enrique Naranjo (“Baila Para Mi,” “Downtown Funk,” and “Rain Checks” ) also play on the record.
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Former Veragroove ivory tickler Sean Lee supplies the keyboards on “Too Damn Rude," while Jesse Morrison of CooBee Coo and the album's producer plays keys on the rest of the record.
"I have written over a hundred songs with these guys," Rios says of his various bandmates. "Some of the songs have faded away; some we still play ... Before we just always worked on doing a really good live show, and that’s how we have grown here in Phoenix. But now we want to put out a really great record."