100 Bands in 100 Days Presented by Verity Credit Union — Day 98: JD Hobson
Ladies and gentlemen, and all local music enthusiasts, welcome back to the fourth annual outing of our year-end daily local music spotlight, 100 Bands in 100 Days, where every day until December 31st, we’ll be showcasing a new band or artist on the cutting edge of the Northwest, presented by Verity Credit Union. Make sure to check the #100Bands100Days hashtag at Twitter daily to stay on top of all the bands featured, and make sure to follow Verity on Twitter and NW_Music_Scene as well. Some days the featured act could be an established and locally-adored Northwest-based musician and other times they could be a band with a small following that just hasn’t had their deserved time in the sun yet. Either way, we’re fairly confident you can come away from this daily segment with plenty of new favorites. Today, as we’re still just a few days shy of turning over our calendars to the futuristic space year of 2018, we’d like to tell you all about a reputable rootsy singer-songwriter by the name of JD Hobson.
A genre-resistant singer that kicks it solo, and whom also performs with his full four-piece band, JD Hobson’s signature blend of Americana, outlaw country and a touch of Delta blues is largely due to his deep roots in Virginia Appalacian blues; though Hobson was born and raised a Seattleite, his father comes from the Appalachians, and the music from this region drifted into Hobson’s music collection. Despite this clear influence, Hobson has the unmistakable flair of a Seattle artist, his songs featuring the sort of urgency and realism you’d want out of a local bluesy singer-songwriter. Hobson’s tracks feature a certain ghostly intimacy and emotional trailblazing reminiscent of artists like Robert Johnson and Bob Dylan, but Hobson’s tracks can veer closer to body-shaking, dance floor-opening blues in the live setting, making for a duality few other artists can pull off.
The latest release to come from the JD Hobson Band, 2013’s Where the Sun Don’t Shine, was acknowledged as an instant classic among local Americana lovers and critics alike. Hobson’s project went on to appear on various reputable music charts, including #26 on the Roots Music Report, #8 on the Freeform American Roots Chart, and an impressive peak of #3 on KEXP’s blues chart. Sitting down and taking in the 13-song country-tinged blues heavyweight, which plays well and reveals more and more to the listener upon its duration, it’s not hard to see why it gained high praise from music fans from all walks of life.
As we’re beginning to be absorbed more and more by the bitter cold, curl up with a warm blanket and headphones and let JD Hobson take you away.
Victory Review July 2012
JD Hobson Band: Where the Sun Don't Shine
Pacific Northwest country blues artist JD Hobson has been a solo performer to this point. This is his second record, and his first with a band. He has won the South Sound Blues Association's "Back to Beale Street" competition twice, and has performed in Memphis as the South Sound's entry into the International Blues Challenge. I witnessed one of his performances in Memphis a few years back. Thinking of him as a blues artist, my ears perked when I put Where the Sun Don't Shine into the CD player. After three listens, the impression is positive.
From my perspective, JD tends to fly below the radar. His gigs are limited; I have never crossed paths with him locally. This record may take his gigging up a notch. It is in the tradition of American Folk as brought to the forefront by Dylan, Guthrie and many others during the folk resurgence in the 1960s. Hobson's vocal quality is easy to listen to; his writing creates interest. Eight of the thirteen tunes on the record are JD's. My major concern about this record is muddy lyrics, sometimes having to read them in order to get an understanding of the songs. This is most evident on the title cut.
There are two blues songs on the record, "Spoonful" by Willie Dixon and "Nobody's Dirty Business" by John Hurt. These songs are given an Americana treatment. It is the first time I have heard them performed this way, and the result is positive. I heard a keyboard teacher at Centrum Blues Week play a blues song as a blues song, then as a country song, finally as a jazz tune. I always listen for blues tunes performed from the view of a different genre, and this effort was successful.
This record will cross genres for many music fans. I'm a blues fan first, but I do like a little straight ahead rock as well as contemporary folk, and even a taste of jazz. You are going to hear multiple genres on this record, perhaps in a way that is unexpected. That's what I like-surprises. You will find surprises in Where the Sun Don't Shine. I have three and a half stars of five for this record.
Whisperin' and Hollerin' July 2012
'JD Hobson Band, The'
'Where the Sun Don’t Shine'
- Album: 'Where the Sun Don’t Shine'
- Genre: 'Blues'
Our Rating: 7 out of 10 stars
With a title like ‘Where the Sun Don’t Shine’, JD Hobson – here releasing his first album with a full band instead of as a solo artist – could be seen as asking for trouble from cynical reviewers. Lucky for him, he’s got a decent set of songs down. Or perhaps luck has nothing to do with it, and it’s a reflection of the confidence he has in his material. He’s every right to be. There’s an urgency about the first two songs that grabs the attention.
That urgency may dissipate as the thirteen tracks unravel, but Hobson still manages to maintain the standard across the set as a whole, which features eight original compositions. Hobson favours the understated and the soft, but he still manages to change gear and mood often enough to prevent monotony setting in, and there’s a classically cool blues swagger to standout track ‘Walking Out of the Door Crying Blues’.
Lonesome Highway Review (April 2012)
Sunday, April 1, 2012 at 04:05PM
The addition of word band designates JD Hobson's move from a solo artist to playing with a full band and the result takes him to a new level as his band are integrated fully into the delivery of these songs. The majority of which are Hobson's with a number of covers drawn from the blues catalogue, although this is not strictly a blues album per se, though it is versed in that part of the Americana mix, it is far more a roots rock affair that draws from 90's Americana bands as well as taking a direct line from the rockier aspects of Bob Dylan's career. The covers include the traditional Blues In The Bottle, Willie Dixon's Spoonful and Mississippi John Hurt's Nobody's Dirty Business as well as Paul Burch's evocative story song Carter Cain. These are songs that deal with the downside of life in an upbeat way. Hobson's own songs tread a similar path with titles like Sick In My Soul, Where The Sun Don't Shine and The Darkest Hour Has Passed ... "at the bottom of this well, I watch grey light ghost parade" that example line shows that Hobson has a way with words as well as a strong enough voice to give meaning to them. The band is a bass, drums, electric guitar and keyboards unit that is well capable of delivering the slow paced bluesyness Belly Of The Beast and Walkin' Out The Door Crying Blues to more uptempo workouts like Desert Road and the aforementioned Carter Cain. This is an assured and solid album that should have a wide appeal and shows the development of this artist that suggests that the Seattle based JD Hobson Band will have fans when they play there and with audiences further afield.
Seattle Weekly Music Review (April 4, 2012)
Leicester Bangs Review (2012)
Having carved himself out a reputation as a talented solo performer in and around his home city of Seattle, JD Hobson formed a small band for his "Where The Sun Don't Shine" album. Though his Americana / country blues style is perfectly suited to the solo setting, his new recruits, Dan Infecto on bass and drummer Nick Auckland, make a hell of a good noise, add some depth and bring some rock `n' roll drive to the table. Not that the songs, both Hobson's own and some well chosen covers, lack too much at all, and it should be emphasized that Hobson's voice is an ideal conduit.
"Where The Sun Don't Shine" is a wonderfully assured album, with what can only be described as a flawless salvo of opening tracks. Starting with a version of Geeshie Wiley's "Last Kind Words", its rolling rhythm and textbook delivery raises the spectre of Wiley's old '78, while the band stamp their own identity on a brilliant, but obscure, folk-blues song. Next it's "Carter Cain", a song I know by other artists, but I've no idea who wrote it. It's just as good; Infecto and Auckland don't do anything particularly fancy, but they do know how to rattle a song along. It's followed by "Darkest Hour Has Passed", a Hobson original, and it more than holds its own, as does the title track, an undulating country blues. It's worth checking out for those four tracks alone, but in truth, the rest of the record is of an equally high standard.