Hot Club of Cowtown considered the seven years between its last two albums “sort of an indefinite hiatus,” according to singer-fiddler Elena James. But she adds there was no guarantee that hiatus would ever end.
“I don’t think anybody felt we were going to get back together, which is visible in the faces of our fans at the shows,” notes James. “They’re like, ‘I’m so glad you guys are back together!’ It’s very interesting to see what an emotional reaction we get out of a lot of people who are happy to see us again.
“We feel the same way — if we didn’t, we probably wouldn’t have bothered to get back together. But I don’t think walking away from it completely would have been an easy thing to do.”
The new “Wishful Thinking” represents the fruits of Hot Club’s regrouping, but the three members — James, guitarist Whit Smith and bassist Bill Horton — weren’t idle in the interim. James, whose mother hails from Royal Oak and now lives in Ann Arbor, took the time off from the band to record a self-titled solo album in 2007, and that gave her the opportunity to go on tour opening for Bob Dylan.
“That was amazing,” she says. “It really gave me a lot of insight and confidence to continue to do what I’m doing. By touring with him, I noticed how you can be committed to so many things at so many different levels — I mean, there’s a guy who sure doesn’t need to tour, but still gets out there and makes himself available and brings that show and those songs and his music to people who love it.
“It’s kind of a moving thing that he continues to get out there and do that. I have a whole lot of respect for him and can see that quality in myself as well.”
Hot Club of Cowtown performs at 8 p.m. Monday (Sept. 28) at The Ark, 316 S. Main St., Ann Arbor. Tickets are $15. Call (724) 761-1451 or visit www.theark.org.