It’s no secret that a lot of fans measure the artistic value of a rock band mainly by the quality of a group’s live performance. The Allman Brothers without their legendary concerts? Unthinkable! Lynyrd Skynyrd as just another anaemic studio project? Impossible to imagine! The same goes for Molly Hatchet as another legendary force among these protagonists of the longstanding history of Southern rock that, alongside lots of outstanding studio recordings, the band’s full potential comes into effect live on stage. Again and again, the musicians surrounding guitarist Bobby Ingram have reinforced their reputation as an awesome live act in brilliant live “battles”, so it comes as no surprise that requests by their international fan base for a new live recording have been growing increasingly insistent for a number of years. Now it’s ready to be unleashed at last: “Battleground,” a live offering consisting of a total of 19 songs, will be available on Steamhammer/SPV from 29 November 2019 as 2-CD Digipak, triple LP in a gatefold cover, and for digital download.
The fact that Molly Hatchet are scheduled to embark on a major tour of Germany and Switzerland almost simultaneously with the release of “Battleground” increases their fans’ anticipation of the new recording, which the band members consider to be a first-rate document of their creative power. Ingram refers to it as “the rewards of seeing and meeting generations of fans, hearing their life stories, listening to them speak of when they first heard a Molly Hatchet song on the radio.”
The upcoming shows will see Ingram & Co. not only present their greatest hits, they will also introduce their new vocalist Jimmy Elkins, who has joined the fold to replace the late Phil McCormack, who sadly passed away in April 2019. Elkins was the frontman of Florida band Bounty Hunter for a number of years, an act who has shared a stage with Molly Hatchet on various occasions over the past two decades. “To us it was the logical next step to ask Jimmy to become our new vocalist,” Ingram explains. “You can tell that he has the Southern rock gene and is a perfect match for Molly Hatchet, not only on a musical but also on a personal level.”
With Elkins at the centre of their high-decibel Southern rock music, Ingram and his longstanding band mates, keyboardist John Galvin, bassist Tim Lindsey and drummer Shawn Beamer, continue to be a powerful musical force. Which is one of the reasons why the Molly Hatchet classics – from the opening track ‘Bounty Hunter,’ the hard-drinking ‘Whiskey Man,’ the programmatic anthem ‘Son Of The South’ and fan faves such as ‘Edge Of Sundown’ and ‘Fall Of The Peacemakers’ right up to the breath-taking finale, ‘Flirtin‘ With Disaster’ – really get down to business from the very first chords. Ingram: “In recording this album, we compiled a four-decade long catalogue of the songs that our friends wanted to hear. They would tell us what songs they wanted on the album, and we recorded them. Some of these songs have never been recorded on a live stage before, and we were honoured and proud to be able to perform them for many generations of past, present, and future Southern rock fans.”
“Battleground” was recorded in Pratteln, Switzerland, in Ludwigsburg, Germany, and during Molly Hatchet’s 40th anniversary tour of the United States and features amazing cover artwork created by Paul Raymond Gregory (Saxon, Motörhead, Uriah Heep, among others). Ingram looks back with legitimate pride and unmistakable modesty not only at the new live album but also at the band’s career to date: “Molly Hatchet have now been in the mainstream of Southern rock for over forty years and still counting. That in and of itself is an honour for every band member who experienced the journey along the way.” It’s this honour that listeners sense in every note on “Battleground.”
Read our review here.