Sure she'd probably shy away from my oncoming swirl of hyperbole, but Erin Hobson has quickly risen to the cream of Hudson Valley songwriters and performers for a variety of well deserved, overdue, and obvious reasons. Her songs are wide open and honest, serving as deft observations on all the victories and foibles of our miraculous existence. She has a wonderful clear, true voice, a beguiling stage presence and plays the hell out of her guitar. Unfortunately, those last two points are what's missing from her otherwise very fine and definable debut Talk Radio.
Perhaps in their desire to create a disc virtually no one can dislike, co-producers and musical cohorts Hobson and Steven W. Ross have pushed aside her greatest strengths making Talk Radio only a partial representation of the gifted artist she is proving herself to be. Yes the harmonies billow on Passing Through. The immediacy and lingering loneliness of a romantic flame-out is captured eloquently in Crash. She gets all funky and wiry with a Bonnie Raitt bite on Good Stuff.
But where o where is the virtuosity so heady and in her live performances? The liquid jazz runs nimbly evolving into blues, churning and elongating into rock, alternating with country and folk and back again to those lusciously ringing jazz licks? Talk Radio offers nary a snippet to be found. Also not found is the excellent Dreaming In Blue from an earlier EP release.
I'm not looking to hammer Hobson here. On the contrary, I'm hoping to get the good word out loud and clear, as far and wide as possible. Ultimately my goal is to challenge her to challenge herself and her growing legions. It is what artists who last beyond the trends do. Talk Radio is a fashionable intro to an artist with much, much more to gloriously reveal.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
Website design by David N. Pyles