Arty Hill and the Long Gone Daddys peforms for Fall Fest 2009

September 24, 2009|By TIFFANY ARNOLD

SHARPSBURG -- Fresh off its latest EP, Arty Hill and the Long Gone Daddys are bringing Charm City honky tonk to Sharpsburg.

Arty Hill and the Long Gone Daddys are the headliners of the Saturday leg of a string of concerts, part of Green Hill Farm's 2009 Fall Fest. Organizer Nick Frobouck promises to deliver eight performances over the course of two days at the Sharpsburg farmstead.

The concert is a fundraiser for Frobouck's nonprofit foundation for injured loggers and their families. Frobouck is a 58-year-old who wants to retire from the logging business himself. He considers this concert - a follow-up to a mixed-success spring festival earlier this year - his way of giving back.

"Let's face it, everybody loves a party," Frobouck said.

He said he heard Arty Hill and the Long Gone Daddys on an obscure Web radio station broadcasting from the West Coast.


Arty Hill and the Long Gone Daddys' music is described as danceable, traditional country. The band has two full-length albums and a recent EP, "Montgomery on My Mind," an homage to Hank Williams, one of the frontman's early idols.

The real Arty Hill is a 42-year-old Baltimore attorney named Art Renkwitz. He grew up on Maryland's Eastern Shore to parents who listened to pop and Motown. The first time he heard country music was when he was 8, as he watched an episode of "The Mike Douglas Show." Doc Watson and Chet Atkins were the guests.

"And I was like, 'Oh my God, what is that?'" Renkwitz said.

He was hooked. He musically graduated to Hank Williams and George Jones. By age 16, he was playing bass in a band that his elementary school band teacher started.

His band today, the Long Gone Daddys, is the name of a Hank Williams song. The band was formed as Arty Hill and the Long Gone Daddys in the early 2000s.

His own name is made up. Arty Hill is a spinoff of Goldie HiIl, a country singer from the 1950s.

"I was not a big fan of Goldie Hill but that name was in my mind for some reason, and I thought Arty Hill sounded OK," Renkwitz said. "It didn't sound silly or awkward."

He doesn't even like to mention that he's really an attorney.

"People get an impression, what your life is outside of music," he said. "They feel like you're just a part-time person at what (you) do."

Renkwitz spent a lot of time during his interview with The Herald-Mail defending his love for honky tonk in Baltimore - or "Ball-more," as Renkwitz pronounces it. He says Baltimore's country-music scene is weak.

In fact, if you want to get him riffing about what is and what ain't country music, simply talk up alt-country - guys he called rock bands wearing western shirts - or suggest giving a country song a rock-rhythm backbone.

He made an exception for the Austin, Texas-bred band The Derailers.

"They can do pretty much any country stuff," Renkwitz said.

He likes his country music to sound like country. He likes to go back to Hank Williams. Best Hank Williams song ever? "You Win Again."

"Lyrically, I think it's perfect," Renkwitz said.

But despite having put out his Hank-tribute EP, and despite having a band whose name comes from Hank's work, Renkwitz said the band doesn't aspire to be a clone of Hank.

The band's live show is half Hank, half Arty Hill original songs.

"I like old country music, but I'm trying to create my own thing," Renkwitz said. "I'm not interested in exactly re-creating an older style."

If you go ...

WHAT: Fall Fest 2009

WHERE: Green Hill Farm, 5329 Mondell Road, Sharpsburg

WHEN: Saturday, Oct. 3, and Sunday, Oct. 4. Gates open at noon.

COST: Advance tickets cost $15 per day, $25 for two days. Tickets at the gate cost $20 per day; $30 for two days.

CONTACT: Nick Frobouck,, or call 301-432-2556


Fall Fest lineup

Gates open at noon. Performances are at 1, 3, 5, and 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 3, and Sunday, Oct. 4.

Saturday, Oct. 3

The Fox Hunt

The Golden Butter Band

The Justin Trawick Group

Arty Hill and the Long Gone Daddys

Sunday, Oct. 4


Shane Dodson

Jah Works

The Nighthawks

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