Since 1991, the celebratory jam sounds of Columbus, OH's Ekoostik Hookah has made them one of the finest Midwestern bands to emerge from the neo-hippie scene of the 1990s. Starting off performing at local open mic nights, frontman/keyboardist Dave Katz, guitarist Steve Sweney, bassist Cliff Starbuck, and guitarist/vocalist John Mullins decided that a career in music would be financially trying yet enriching because they had a special passion for it all. The group was instantly noticed at a local party, later gaining studio time to record their debut, Under Full Sail, in 1991. In 1993, drummer Eric Lanese joined the group, percussionist John Polansky joined in 1995, and singer/songwriter Ed McGee completed the Ekoostik Hookah lineup the next year.
Throughout the '90s, Ekoostik Hookah trudged throughout the U.S., playing to countless shows while molding their grassroots/jazz/blues organic sounds. A second album, which was titled Dubbabuddah (1994), focused more on the band's lengthy jams and sonic grooves, yet the 1996 release of the band's live album Ekoostik Hookah was more of an accurate depiction of their relentless rock & roll impeccability, the growl of performing in front of an audience, and the power they had as a live band. It's their laid-back nature, the mellow atmospheric body encased in each song, that makes Ekoostik Hookah as desirable as they already are. Studio efforts are obviously a different set for the group, but it's the down-home good time that cuts the hook every time. A third LP, Where the Fields Grow Green, was issued in 1998 and another live double disc, Sharp in the Flats, followed a year later. ~ MacKenzie Wilson
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