Striding this way with new album
Hobnail’s new album Blue Sky Songs fittingly arrives in the post on a sunny day, all the more appropriate considering the amount of rainy weather we’ve had. On the first play through it has the hallmarks of classic Hobnail, but this album has reached new heights and illustrates the evolvement of very good musicians who keep getting better in playing and songwriting.
Hobnail is one of the nation’s gig-going-punter’s favourite groups, their material encompassing the traditional earthly domains of country, folkpop, Celtic and Australasian roots. They’re capable of delivering a knees-up rebelrousing dance number, and then a thought-provoking scene-setting ballard that pulls at the heart strings, beautifully blended by the main instruments - guitar, bass, violin, mandola and drums - and four harmonic voices.
They’re consistent and prolific at songwriting and producing albums, with Blue Sky Songs being the seventh in 21 years, with the past two, Baggage and String Things released in 2012 and 2015 respectively, following on from Fortune Horses in 2008, a trio greeted with critical acclaim and nominations
Awards in categories.
Blue Sky Songs continues the voyage of their musical union and one wonders how many songs are conceived on road trips, because they spend a lot of time together travelling to gigs the length and breath of this land, and the material is suited to cruising at the wheel with the breeze in the hair and bright light and breathtaking scenery piercing the eyes.
The immediate new road trip faves are Rob Joass’ Elbow (The Driving Song), Good and Ready
and Lions in the Sand; Wide Open Road and Good Luck Charm
featuring singing-violinist Jo Moir; and bassist and vocalist Hamish Graham’s The 9th Day of Av and to-be-respected Honesty.
Lead songwriter, vocalist and guitarist Joass says unlike the last album, the at-times joyous String Things, when up to six other musicians and instruments - ‘‘friends and guests’’ - were added to some song productions, ‘‘there was a deliberate intent... we wanted to keep it to the four of us’’, the quartet that keeps devel- for NZ folk and Music country
‘‘We wanted to keep it to the four of us.’’
oping how to blend the smooth ‘‘subtleties’’ of their playing and voices.
And unlike earlier albums, when Joass led the singing on most tracks, he takes five this time round, with Moir three and Graham two, while the superblyrecorded production is completed by Kiwi music legend Caroline Easther on drums and percussion - BVs, too. Her country-funk groove on Wide Open Road is the perfect foundation.
They’re on their way to play Uxbridge Theatre in Howick this Friday, and no doubt as they’re travelling north from Wellington they’ll be working out new songs and reliving old ones as the miles pass beneath them.
has for the Hobnail concert at Uxbridge Theatre this Friday, October 6. Send an email to email@example.com with Hobnail in the subject line, with name and contact details by 5pm on October 5. Eastern Courier
double pass to win a ticket
Hobnail have produced a beautiful new album Blue Sky Songs which they’ll play tracks from, and back-catalogue faves, at Howick’s Uxbridge Theatre this Friday. They are Rob Joass, Jo Moir, Caroline Easther and Hamish Graham.