By design, Jeff "Horti" Hortillosa's Corpus Callosum doesn't rest within one genre. Foretold by the title of his solo disc, the Whiskey Shivers guitarist invites listeners into his brain, and bluegrass ain't on it. Instead, there's a mélange of lush, beachy guitar licks ("Falling Down"), a cabaret ditty led by jazz clarinet ("You Can't Make Me Pie"), and a tropicalia ode ("Beer and Condoms") whose whistled melody sticks. Country roots also shine through the floorboards. "Pretty and Stupid" features blooming pedal steel and loping fiddle, and "Girls Named Katie & Girls Named Lynn" is a tongue-in-cheek two-stepper. Horti's tour de cranium doesn't follow any rules, but we're ready for another visit.
-The Austin Chronicle
It goes like this:
Jeff "Horti" Hortillosa, is an eloquent lyricist, a badass guitarist, and an unpredictably comedic live performer. One of Austin's most well-rounded musicians, Horti sings with a timeless voice thats jazzy, bluegrass, and grungy all at once. Horti is well traveled and eclectic, and his songs reflect this; with lyrics ranging from fluffy to heavy, hopeful to nihilistic, told through the lens of ambiguous characters in colorful landscapes. Humorous, poetic, and often strange, he captures the fractured snippets of the human experience and glue them back down into a collage that exists in the past present and future.
The self-produced Corpus Callosum is full of catchy melodies and crunchy riffs. The record varies wildly from song to song. Each track is created with a distinctly unqiue flavor. From Bossa Nova to Indie Rock, Swing Jazz to Honky-Tonk, Americana to surfy pop rock...Corpus Callosun record goes beyond the limitations of any easily defined genre. Joining him are a handful of Austin's finest, Kris Wade (co-producer, engineer) on electric bass, James Gwyn on drums, Micah Motenko on keys, along with a handful more. From start to finish, it's designed to be experienced as if walking through a gallery, a museum, a theme park, a city tour, a steady journey through vignettes.
"Welcome to the brain of our weird, and wily friend, Horti..."
Produced by: Jeff Hortillosa
Head Engineer, co-producer: Kristopher Lee Wade
Recorded at: 6 String Ranch, Austin TX, 2017
Music, lyrics, and arrangement by: Jeff Hortillosa
Mastered by Nick Landis at Terra Nova Digital Audio, Inc. Austin, TX
Album art by Jessica Pisani
BASS: Kristopher Lee Wade
DRUMS: James Gwyn
KEYS: "Magic" Micah Motenko
FIDDLE (Pretty and Stupid): Eddie Dickerson
PEDAL STEEL (Pretty and Stupid): Sam Kosler
CLARINET (You Can't Make me Pie): "Daddy" Neil Motenko
BEER AND CONDOMS (ADDITIONAL VOCALS): Hannah Moore, Luke Klima, Jessica Klima, Daddy Motenko, Sam Kosler, Magic Micah, James Gwyn, Kris Wade
EVERYONE SUCKS (Ooo's and Aaaah's) - Ann Wade, Meredith Kimbrough, Bethany Galloway
SCIENCE: Sophia Johnson
ART the character: Bethany Galloway
THE MINIONS OF INFINITE LOYALTY:
ARROGANCE - Eric Witthans, ENTITLEMENT -Kris Wade, IRONIC.DETACHMENT - Magic Micah
"Thanks to all my family, my friends, Hannah my sweet, los Whiskey Shiveros, P. Cass n Crew, and all the hard working singer songwritin drum playin guitar riffin bass slappin key mashin synth paddin rappin shoutin harmonizin orchestral badasses in the town of AUSTIN TEXAS and all over the world. Shoutout to all the live engineers, producers, and studio engineers who took my questions seriously, and answered them honestly (big dabs for #Frenchie and #Sean). RIP Mitchell, Jay, and Porter. Miss ya every day boys, you'll never be forgotten."
It also goes like this
Horti, slow down, jeze, you're gonna freak some people out.
HAHA. SILLY ME, WHERE ARE MY MANNERS!? YOU SHOULD GET TO KNOW ME FIRST!
So, it goes like this:
Horti the Musician, ABRIDGED
- January 1987, Middlesboro Kentucky
Jeffrey Stephen Hortillosa is born the fifth son of Maria and Lew Hortillosa; two Filipino doctors raising their family’s first generation of Americans. Jeffy learns to speak English with a Filipino accent. Theres always a blend of music in the house. While the older generation listened to disco, Spanish, classic, pop-rock, his siblings and cousins, teenagers who will later define Generation-X, were listening to metal, grunge, hippy acoustic stuff, rap.
- August 1992
Young Jeffrey is released into St. Julian’s Catholic school, where he spends the next nine years……………nine………………….…years…. Luckily, he loves school, and is naturally curious about many subjects. He loves cartoons and superheroes. Even more intriguing, are the myriad of new people, the native Kentuckians and Tennesseeers, and they’re new and unusual ways.
- Sometime 1995
At the age of 8, he learns to play drums, a decision that will forever change his fate.
- Summer 2000
He becomes obsessed with music and musicians. He learns to play guitar. Coincidentally, later that year, downloading songs on the internet becomes a cultural phenomenon. His collection of cd’s, tapes, and pirated mp3’s expands steadily. He begins writing songs (as well as poems and short stories). His taste veers towards the eclectic, learning to dabble in genres other kids his age weren’t interested in. He practices and begins assembling friends for small bands.
- August 2001 - May 2005
Horti attends Middlesboro High School. It’s a culture shock at first, he’s very awkward, and out of element. He loves it. While making new friends, his appreciation of music grows. He plays in bands with his friends; they churn out home recordings for fun on the weekends. Like most high school graduates, he leaves not sure what he wants to pursue in life. Equally, he loves Spanish, Math, Science, Music, Theater, and Creative Writing.
- September 2005, Danville Kentucky
Horti begins at Centre College, in Danville Kentucky. This brings a new wave of fresh music to his ears, riding on the back of a deluge of new information and perspective that comes with higher education. He begins dabbling in folk, and eventually, playing bluegrass in several bands. He wears a scarf sometimes.
- January 2007, Nicaragua
Horti studies abroad. This experience opens his eyes to the systems of the world. Corruption, politics, war, extreme poverty. The history lessons from his books come to life. This is a paradigmatic shift in Horti’s understanding of western culture, and subsequently, world culture. Active in theater and music, he see’s the role of art and performance in uniting the different people of the world. Art as a vehicle for peace. He dreams of a better world and ponders his role in it.
- September 2009, Alcalá de Henares, Madrid, Spain
Horti leaves Kentucky. He moves to Madrid, Spain, and completes a Masters in Bilingual and Multicultural Education, at the University of Alcalá. The culmination of his talents, he figures, would make him a good teacher. He plans to return to Latin America to work in the non-profit world. Outside of class and teaching job, he spends the year traveling, partying, and singing songs. People tell him he should sing and play guitar for a living instead. At some point, he starts to believe them.
- Fall 2010, Austin Texas
He moves to Austin TX with Uncle Lady, a band composed of college friends. Three weeks later, he walks into a party and met a bluegrass band who’s guitarist moved away that very morning; he joins Whiskey Shivers, adding a new layer of vocal harmonies. They then go on to play approximately 300 shows a year, locally mostly, for the next three years. Also during this period, Jeff Hortillosa works diligently at the Boys and Girls Club, earning accolades and promotions. Whiskey Shivers gains recognition as well, and goes on to win Best Bluegrass/Country Band 2013 at the Austin Music Awards.
- October 2013
After years of doodling on GarageBand, a concentrated effort is made in the form of an album. Return to Spider Island is released.
- January 2014
Horti becomes a full time musician, anticipating a year heavy year of touring to promote Whiskey Shiver’s new album. They spend 8 months playing shows on the road, criss-crossing the United States several times over. The van doesn’t smell great. Between tours, Horti performs solo at weekly residencies in Austin. He pens the songs that will eventually become Corpus Callosum.
- 2015 - 2016
Between the months of touring, Whiskey Shivers is recording their latest album. Between Whiskey Shivers touring and recording, Horti is writing, demo-ing, and recording his own original songs. It’s a long process, but over time, with friend/bassist/engineer/co-producer Kris Wade, they steadily create and refine the tracks.
Horti releases Corpus Callosum.