(Boat Folk Records)
Jim Hoehn is a journalist in daily life, so it's no surprise at all that he writes wonderful lyrics. Your ten favorite articles from the newspaper, packaged with the CD, something like that. Telling about crime, from the assaulted tourist to the young criminal ("He hopped the counter like Dillinger") who ends up "full of lead", while his parents enjoy the pay-out of his life insurance. The lyrics are also -easy to relate to by me- about working at the newspaper ("Life in the deadline penitentiary"), with sensitivity and respect Jim tells about the older men who lost their jobs and the veterans from the Marine Corps in "Yesterday's News", or about the eighty-something dancer's memories in "Maggie And The Singin' Cowboy Show".
Prize track is definitely "Kings Of Black Velvet", a conversation between the portraits of Jesus and Elvis, leaning every day against the van of a roadside vendor. "They talked of Col. Parker and Judas and friends who failed them", ultimately intelligent wordplay.
Second plus point is the band, Jim went especially from Wisconsin to Texas to record the album with Larry Joe Taylor, whom he had met years earlier at a festival. They did a thorough job, Jim ended up with
"half of my Texas record collection live in the studio"... For instance guitarist John Inmon and bassplayer Bob Livingston from Jerry Jeff Walker's Lost Gonzo Band and pianist Floyd Domino (Asleep At The Wheel, George Strait). They transformed Jim's "basic three chord approach" into a very professional, often pleasantly rocking musical project. Besides that is Jim's singing also not bad at all, sometimes there's even a vague resemblance with Tom Russell. A must-have for everybody who truly appreciates top-notch song lyrics!
Written by Johanna J. Bodde, Dutch original of this review previously published on Real Roots Cafe, The Netherlands.