An album that contains songs about demolition derbies (“Crash and Burn” and “My Demolition Man”), but also has one lambasting the greed of the oil industry that caused the devastation in the Gulf of Mexico (“Ballad For The Gulf Of Mexico”) is contradictory and a little confusing, but in no way reduces the quality of the songwriting. Listeners will have their own opinions on whether it was the intention of Hosking to be ironic and make people think.
Hosking is a descendant of Cornish miners and was brought up in rural Shasta County, California, where the members of an old-time band took her under their wings. Presumably it is this authentic upbringing, surrounded by rural life and its many hardships, that has made her the songwriter that she is, singing about the everyday with a real authenticity and able to write songs of compassion and hope like “Song for Claire” which closes the album.
This is Hosking’s fourth studio album and, like her third album Come Sunrise, is produced by Rich Brotherton who has drafted in other members of Robert Earl Keen’s band (Tom Van Schaik and Marty Muse) as well as regulars from Hosking’s own live band (Sean Feder and Andy Lentz).
A mild complaint about the album is that you are very grateful for the fact that a lyric sheet is included. There are times when the ‘backing’ music is far too prominent and times when Hosking’s voice is simply not clear. This makes the first few listenings somewhat unsatisfactory, especially on songs like the lyric laden “Indian Giver” which turns out to be a rather poignant song about the injustices handed out to native Americans.
Once you get beyond that difficulty, this is a lovely, thoughtful album and Hosking deserves any success that comes her way.