Hoo-ha! Though his message ultimately is one of middle-class hope and earthy day-to-daying, Eric Hanke also takes to cynicism like a trout to a shade-encrusted meadow stream, and the opening stanza of It Ain't Really Love kinda knocks ya back on your grinnin' pins:
Sunday come a-runnin', with the whiskey on my breath
More than a few of us, male and female, have run headlong into that sort of encounter (which can also be sweet as silk when you're lucky), no? However, even the positivism in this CD is shaded over by the realities of what forces its way into the mundane:
If we make it through the summertime
…where the entire world hangs in that monosyllabic two-letter conditional adverbial conjunction: 'if'. Man, doesn't that just encapsulate everything that's happening in the world right now? And Hanke sings it straight from the living room after dinner, the dishes done and the kids set to bed, sighing and thinking as he relaxes for a short evening before becoming the Factory Man once again tomorrow. The gent possesses a very down home boy-next-door voice—kinda Jackson Browne-y by way of a grown-up Opie Taylor—inside arrow-straight passion, and his band, which really shines a special light in Hope Your Dreams Come True, follows along beside. Then the wimmens sail in on Mr. Slim's Blues and things get all soulful and gin mill-y.
Hanke's buddy Merel Bregante (Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Loggins & Messina) co-produced and co-arranged this tasty, multi-faceted, dust trail CD, and that's proven to bolster Hanke's rootsy talents nicely. Like Bregante, Eric can rock and roll, sing from church, and dance with the possums when the urge strikes, but, in the end, he's just a working' stiff reg'lar guy with a few things to say, a mess of rather well-put insights, and an artist's way with his endeavors. In this era of overblown everything, that's a damn blessing and relief.
And, ya know, I'm getting' reallllly pissed with all these great CDs I review in this forum. I used to have a rep for penning some vicious retorts to badly wrought crap in my national-mag days, but now look at me: you'd think I was Mr. Rogers! Sigh! Well, what the hell, it means I get to glom cool-ass discs like this one instead half-ass nonsense. I guess there are worse ways to pass one's days, hm?
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2011, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
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