catapult magazine

catapult magazine

Vol 4, Num 15 :: 2005.07.29 — 2005.09.08


At home in AltCountry

Greg Hobbs is a folk singer, hinting at the tonal qualities of Peter Mayer, Cliff Eberhardt, and Peter Mulvey. On 2004?s Threats & Promises, the first track, ?Storm,? is soaked in dobro and reminiscent of many troubadours in the American Folk section. Some of the guitar work even recalls fellow Canadian Gordon Lightfoot.

When track 1 runs out, though, and flips to track 2, we?re in the ?Gospel Barroom,? a country shuffle about drinking and the Bible. That country flair is never far behind in Hobbs? brand of folk music, which lands him finally in the AltCountry section, next to Thomas Denver Johnson, Adam Masterson, and Jason Walker. (However, ?Gospel Barroom? actually is very reminiscent of the Irish folk sound of the Waterboys? ?Spring Comes to Spiddal" from Room to Roam. Hobbs’ voice has a lot in common with Mike Scott’s timbre).

Here is a collection of songs about bars, girls, drinking, and partying with friends, but meanwhile, this is sensitive singer-songwriter stuff, you know, having a conscience while drinking beer or hitting on the waitress. ?Me & This Girl? is about that typical male problem of suddenly fantasizing about a girl, in this case a waitress in a bar, thinking it would be better than a current relationship, all the while forgetting that you?re pitiful for even thinking this while your wife is at home. ?Tonight the Guys are Coming Over? catches us guys trying to convince the women in our lives that they love us even if we?re drinking with our friends and being loud. Even when Hobbs is being humorous, he?s exposing the shallowness in the thoughts of some guys.

In these heart-on-sleeve, paper-tiger-machoism songs, there?s also great beauty. The title song?s gentle picking tries to keep a strong front even while mourning the loss of a relationship. ?Leave This Town? has Lightfoot picking, Dylan-esque phrasing, and a tender melody. You can?t let the occasional drawl and country-like compositions fool you into thinking that he?s a stereotypical Country & Western bar singer; this ain?t just some two-stepper. Hobbs writes songs that truly capture the heart.

Thanks to Greg Hobbs for the review copy. This review originally appeared on June 20, 2004, at Benjamin Squires? music review site, Music Spectrum. Squires is Associate Pastor at Redeemer Lutheran Church, Manitowoc, WI.

your comments

comments powered by Disqus