Too Much is Never Enough
Broody and Toe-Tappin’ Outlaw Country At It’s Best.
This has been sitting around the RMHQ offices for far too long now, without me writing words about it; especially as it keeps forcing itself into the CD player without being asked.
Californian AJ Hobbs has released two previous EP’s, one under the pseudonym Cal King, but this is his first full length Album and without giving too much away…..is bloody excellent!
The title track Too Much is Never Enough kick starts the CD like a Ford Bronco on a red hot Saturday night. Hobbs has the kind of slightly rough edged voice that lends itself perfectly to this type of Country music and his band sound as if they having the time of their life behind him on a song about a man’s ‘battle with the bottle.’
The Ford Bronco analogy is pretty nigh perfect for what follows too; Hobbs paces the songs perfectly with a few deeply personal ballads like the slow and atmospheric Tomorrow I’ll Be Hurtin’ and A Whole Lot of You and Me riding shotgun to up-tempo dance tunes like Are You Going to Tennessee and the title song from that first EP and no doubt a show-stopper…..Shit Got Real.
Even before you bought the album, a cursory peak at the track listing will point you in the right direction when you see titles like Waylon & Merle and of course The Bottle Let Me Down.
While the whole album more than merits being played over and over again; a couple of tracks have certainly caught Mrs. Magpie and my attention; with both Daddy Loved The Lord and Take It Slow making us sing ‘harmonies’ alongside AJ Hobbs; but thankfully not in public.
That said; and it’s probably because I’m an old romantic I’m going for the gorgeous and fiery Life Without You as my favourite track here.
It’s fair to say Country Music like this never went away; no matter what the good people on Music Row and the radio stations would have you believe. Dale Watson has been a flag-bearer with his ‘Ameripolitan’ take on the genre and over the last couple of years there’s been a hatful of albums from the likes of Frankie Lee, Sam Outlaw, Sturgill Simpson and of course our very own Ags Connolly; all reviewed very positively on these pages and AJ Hobbs is every inch the ‘real deal’ and sits shoulder to shoulder with all of those guys; as well as the originators that they all listened to in their bedrooms.
Released 17th February 2017