By SHANE MURPHY
CONTRIBUTING WRITER - CapeCodOnline.com
August 15, 2013
If you think you recognize the trio playing at the Cape Codder Resort & Spa this summer, chances are you were around a couple of decades ago.
All season, Hazy Hot & Humid has brought its vocal-centered folk/country sound three nights a week — Tuesdays Fridays and Saturdays — to The Deck restaurant and bar but, thankfully, they left their mullets in the '90s. This summer marked the 21st anniversary for the band and the fourth year since it reformed with its original members, Steve Hanlon, Randy Hebditch and Bill Rountree.
Besides the Cape Codder gigs, the band has been playing Wednesdays at Chapin's Restaurant in Dennis and Thursdays at Dino's Pizza & Sports Bar in Mashpee. That schedule continues through Sept. 11.
The group originated in 1992 at the request of a club owner looking for a band. The band got its name a year later after a visit to Maryland with an unchanging weather forecast for the stay - hazy, hot and humid. Armed with two acoustic guitars, an electric bass and a business-on-top, party-in-the-back hairstyle, HH&H became "the hot ticket item on Cape Cod," according to press material. But the band members began to "drift" apart and after seven years, they went their separate ways.
Hanlon continued playing under the name with three new guys, becoming more "rock 'n' rollish," as he describes it in a phone interview, and playing more tunes by bands like Led Zeppelin and Aerosmith. HH&H went through many more roster changes over the years until the original three decided in 2010 that it was time to get back together.
They have been playing the Cape Codder through the summers since, drawing a mix of new and familiar faces out to their shows. An overheard conversation that Hanlon proudly recounts: "We haven't seen them for 20 years and they're still as good as they were."
HH&H has remained a "hot ticket," he says, being booked six nights a week two years in advance. They play from a songbook that boasts over 100 titles with "new" tunes being shuffled in regularly. As Hanlon jokes, "If we added anything 'new,' it would probably be 30 years old."
People seem to enjoy it, according to Rountree. "They wanna hear something old."
Hanlon describes the group as "more of a listening band than a dance band," as it focuses more heavily on three-part vocal harmonies than shredding instruments. Rountree explains that idea with his story of quieting down Chapin's, one of their louder venues, with an a capella rendition of "Carolina on My Mind." "This is different from most bar bands," Rountree says. "We're very acoustic ... it's about singing."
After early September, the band will remain in the area until the cold weather begins to roll in. Then, Rountree will migrate back to his winter home in Florida, where he freelances as a bassist for several Fort Myers area bands.
"By the end of the season, I'm looking forward to Florida," he says, though he assures that by spring, he is awaiting his return to the Cape. In January, though, Hanlon and Hebditch will be joining Rountree down south to bring Hazy Hot & Humid to Floridian ears. Hopefully, they don't bring the mullets back with them.