Holy Ghost Tent Revival brings energy to Saloon

Article Published: Dec. 15, 2010 | Modified: Sep. 7, 2011
Holy Ghost Tent Revival brings energy to Saloon

Greensboro-based Holy Ghost Tent Revival (myspace.com/hgtr) is not your average sextet. Like its name implies, it's there to revive, with a high energy banjo explosion coupled with a sound that's anything but dated.
While the term "boogie music" is often used, it's not how HGTR front man Stephen Murray describes the pick-tastic harmonies.

"I tell people we're very influenced by the '20s and the '60s," he said.

Think a mesh of "old timey" with a double dose of rock and roll. Then keep thinking.

"It's hard to describe," he said.

The name?

"We get asked that a lot," Murray said. "It was just a sign on the side of the road, on the way up to Boone, actually."

And now, years later, HGTR is returning to the place where they got their name for a special show Dec. 16 at Boone Saloon (489 W. King St.).

For HGTR, touring bars and festivals (like Boone's Music on the Mountaintop) isn't just part of the job. It's a road trip with friends. "We are friends first, then musicians," Murray said.

It's the friendships that keep the six sane on the road, but that's not to say there haven't been "moments." "That's why you've got to be as open as possible with each other," he said.

He speaks from three years of touring experience.

"The first year you're innocently naive and excited and ready to take on the world," he said. "Then there's the middle year where you realize ... I'm locked in with these other guys ... and now the third year, we're back up to peaking ... you learn to forget everything and just be there, because the reason you're there is just to play the music," he said.

Over the years he's learned to even utilize bad moods. "You can use your aggression and your anger, beat it out of your instrument," he said.

After all, he never stays angry for long. He's living his dream.

"We all are," he said. "When we grew up, we wanted to be in a band."

And living in North Carolina has pushed them in the right direction.

"Especially from Greensboro, we're in the center of the state," he said. "It makes touring very feasible, economically. You have access to a lot of really great cities without driving for days."

HGTR hits Boone Saloon Thursday with Asheville-based Do It To Julia. Expect a $5 cover charge.

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