California artist AJ Hobbs was recently nominated for "Outlaw Male" at The Ameripolitan Awards, a ceremony honoring artists in traditional country music. Since its inception a few years ago, the Ameripolitan Awards have helped launch careers of indie outlaw country artists like Whitey Morgan. For California native Hobbs, the nomination alone is a great way to be heard.
Earlier this month, Hobbs released his new album, Too Much is Never Enough, a record that dabbles in nostalgia. While his good-timing songs are reminiscent of 70's styles, Hobbs tells his own truth.
"Daddy Loved The Lord" is a defining example of Hobbs vulnerability, as it's written about his own father. It's a story of a man swinging the pendulum hard between whiskey and God. Hobbs' dark lyrics are set against a sanguine gospel melody that won't let you forget the message.
"Too Much is Never Enough" is a troublemaking party song about life on the road. It's the album opener and comes in hot with a fast tempo and slicing guitar riffs. "The Loser" has the heavy backbeat and lonesome pedal steel, curing even the most insatiable honky-tonk appetite. Hobbs' lyrics are often thorn-filled and wild, just like the tumbleweeds rolling through his desert hometown.
Hobbs also supplies a cover of the Merle Haggard classic "The Bottle Let Me Down," and makes it his own with big horns. He then offers his hat-tipping nod to the 70's on "Eastside." The tune has nostalgic build-ups reminiscent of Ronnie Millsap's "Smoky Mountain Rain," but Hobbs adds some soulful sounding background vocals.
Hobbs is like a charismatic Bible salesman in "Are You Going To Tennessee?" The whole state could be underwater and Hobbs could still sell it with the happy, toe-tapper.
Overall, Hobbs has worked lot of good music onto one album.
Hobbs will perform at South By Southwest this March before he takes off to Vinstra Country Music Festival in Norway.