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Empress Hotel brings New Orleans to Boone

Article Published: Feb. 17, 2011 | Modified: Sep. 7, 2011
Empress Hotel brings New Orleans to Boone

Empress Hotel checks into Black Cat Burrito March 3.

Photo submitted

New Oreleans-based Empress Hotel.

"It's a band of brothers and friends," bassist Haché Horchatta said.

And Black Cat Burrito is a stop on their East Coast tour.

Think indy pop rock "that's influenced by the old and the new."

"We wear a lot of influences on our sleeves," Horchatta said.

And, after experiencing his cool demeanor, it's easy to believe him when he says the songs were written while "drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes."

They've got an old-school feel. They're the kind of guys as comfortable in a speakeasy as in a smoky club, a relaxed attitude they'll bring to Black Cat, along with New Orleans flavor. Not that their music is relaxed. Think shoe sole scuffing dancing, the kind that will echo in your head the next morning.
As for the name?

"Empress Hotel is a hotel in New Orleans that's kind of like a seedy rooms by the hour type place," he said. "I've never been there ... but there are several Empress Hotels throughout the world ... every major city seems to have an Empress Hotel. It's a really regal name, but ... represents something a little grimier, perhaps."

And he sees parallels with the city he calls home.

"It's a beautiful city, but there's a seedy underbelly," he said.

Horchatta is a self-taught musician who initially started playing to "meet girls."

Did it work?

"No, not until after I got out of high school," he said.

While Horchatta's never been to Boone, he's heard of it. An avid Doc Watson fan, he's excited at the prospect of playing a few streets down from where the legend got his start. While it doesn't necessarily influence Empress Hotel ("There's maybe a .001 percent bluegrass influence," he said), bluegrass has been a curiosity for Horchatta, who spent some time in Nashville. Empress Hotel started touring regionally over the summer. Their current tour is their first "big tour as a band."
Next stop?

"Global domination," Horchatta said.

Empress Hotel (Ryan Rogers, Micah McKee, Haché Horchatta, Eric Rogers, Julie Williams and Leo DeJesus) hits Black Cat Burrito (127 S. Depot St.) March 3. For a preview, check out

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