Strid­ing this way with new al­bum

Eastern Courier - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - PJ TAY­LOR

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 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.

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