Hillbilly Moon Explosion
Hillbilly Moon Explosion is a European rockabilly band founded in Switzerland 1998. The group is known for a versatile mix of rock and roll, jump blues, swing, country, roots rock and surf music elements.
The Band originated in 1998 as part of the Zurich rockabilly scene. The group was founded by the native English and Swiss citizen Oliver Baroni (vocals, bass, guitar) and Italian-Swiss singer Emanuela Hutter. Oliver Baroni was planning to leave his former band, the Hillbilly Headhunters. Emanuela Hutter worked with the singer/songwriter music project MD Moon at that time. The original formation was completed by drummer Aad Hollander and guitarist Pat Matteo, another former member of the Hillbilly Headhunters. The first demo tape was made in the same year. Emanuela Hutter was at the time bound by solo performances and did not enter the band until the following year.
In 2006 after the release of All Grown Up, Englishman Duncan James replaced Patrick Gese on guitar and Swiss Luke Weyermann the new drummer. Frenchman Sylvain Petite later took over drums.
In addition to touring and performing in Switzerland, the band have performed in other European countries including Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Finland, Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary, Poland, Austria and the UK. In 2010, Hillbilly Moon Explosion appeared as the opening act for Jeff Beck in Paris Olympia. In both 2018 and 2019, they also toured the west coast of the US.
Style and reviews
Although some media outlets rate the band as a very good rockabilly formation from Switzerland, Hillbilly Moon Explosion is still considered an underground band.
On the album Buy, Beg or Steal, in the song “My Love for Evermore”, Hutter sang a duet with Mark “Sparky” Phillips from the British psychobilly group Demented Are Go. Further duets with Sparky appeared on the Damn Right Honey and With Monsters and Gods albums, and a full album of duets, The Sparky Sessions appeared in 2019.
Current band members
Mary Lee Family Band, as the name explains by itself, it’s a family band formed by Mary Lee and her husband Mauro Montezuma in Brazil, their home country.
Pioneer of the Bluegrass/Honky Tonk style in the country and called as the Brazilian Loretta Lynn, Mary Lee toured Brazil since 2011, traveling from north to south.
In 2012, Mary Lee released her first album (“Meet Mary Lee”) with her former band “Mary Lee & The Sideburn Brothers”. Two years later in 2014, the band made their first European tour. The public response was so positive that they returned in 2016 and 2018 to ever larger audiences.
Mary Lee’s second album (“Fighting Demons”), caught the attention of Muddy Roots Music, an American record label from Nashville/TN, that decided to release it in 2016 together with a music video for the album’s title track. At the same year, the band played at the sold out Muddy Roots Europe Festival during their European Tour.
Due to its wide acceptance in Europe, the family decided to move to Berlin in 2019. There, the Family Band met fiddle player Sorcha Thompson, who became a permanent member of the band and brought with her the influence of Irish fiddle music.
Mary Lee’s older son Patrick Saldanha joined the band in 2022 as bassist, completing the Family Band.
Since then, the band has performed in Europe at highly respected festivals in the bluegrass/alternative scene, such as the Rotterdam Bluegrass Festival (NL), Kids’n’Billies (NL), Muddy Roots Europe (BE) and Country & Folk Neukölln (DE).