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MUSIC REVIEW (Folk)
Hobbs, Greg
Drake Motel

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Label: Independent Released: 2/1/2001


Toronto urbanite Greg Hobbs is back with his third collection of songs reflecting an obvious fondness for the early electric folk sounds created by Dylan and Neil Young but twisted into a contemporary sound molded by Hobbs's relationships (or lack thereof) with various members of the opposite sex, alcoholic beverages and the urban settings they all haunt. Or which haunt him, as the case may be.

The unobtrusive production by Chris Cobain serves the songs and allows the usually spare instrumentation of guitar, bass, drums and vocals to let the songs speak from themselves. Occasional dashes of crunchy guitar and guest vocals by Nicole Dueck add a little sonic variety but the lyrics create enough intrigue on their own that these additions are almost unnecessary, though still welcome.

Like many a folk singer-songwriter before him, Hobbs takes the sometimes mundane or obvious elements of life, scrutinizes them, then manages to find something interesting or humourous and convey it in a captivating - and sometimes brutally honest - way. Not an easy craft, but one in which Hobbs is well-versed, sometimes evoking similarities in sound and content to some of the mellower songs by Hobbs's Canadian peer Mike McDonald (of Jr. Gone Wild fame). Fans of the aforementioned McDonald, Young or Dylan would be well-advised to check out Drake Motel. Those who take the time to listen closely to this CD will not go unrewarded.

Steve Donnelly Email WWW

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