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Doug Hoekstra - Around The Margins

  by John Clarkson

published: 17 / 12 / 2001

Doug Hoekstra - Around The Margins
Label: Inbetweens
Format: CD


'Around the Margins' is the fourth solo album of the increasingly acclaimed Nashville-based musician and songwriter, Doug Hoekstra. Not perhaps surprisingly for a singer-songwriter hailing from the Te

'Around the Margins' is the fourth solo album of the increasingly acclaimed Nashville-based musician and songwriter, Doug Hoekstra. Not perhaps surprisingly for a singer-songwriter hailing from the Tennessee capital, Hoekstra owes a debt to country, but he has also been influenced by blues, avant-garde jazz, folk, gospel and pop. 'Around the Margins' is an enrichened tapestry of all these elements, from which Hoekstra, often several times in the same song, flits and loops from one to the other. Like his fellow Nashvillians Lambchop, Hoekstra has reworked and evolved all of these genres seperately and together to create something in his music that is unique, highly individual and very much of its own. Hoekstra recorded 'Around the Margins' both in Chicago and Nashville. While the Chicago sessions, with some over dubbing , feature primarily Hoekstra on guitar and his producer Jeff Kowalkoski on a variety of instruments including the piano, keyboards, an accordion and a jawharp, the Nashville sessions involve a full-scale band. A dobro, a mandolin, strings, a saxophone, a clarinet and a trumpet are all also used, but the key instrument throughout 'Around the Margins', however, is Hoekstra's distinctive and unusual voice. Half whispered, half spoken, it draws its listener in with its deliberate understatement and strong use of narrative. Hoekstra's first book, a collection of short stories, 'Claim Check Stories', is scheduled for publication later this year, and most of the songs on 'Around the Margins' have a storytelling element. Some, such as 'Desdemona', in which a couple meet, fall in love and fall apart, during the space of train journey, and a carefully restrained cover version of Bob Dylan's usually thundering 'Isis', are fanciful. The majority, however, are set in reality, often telling of lives in the balance and the edge. 'Birmingham Jail' captures the plight of a man in a condemned cell, while 'Laminate Man' focuses on a con man and a card shark. 'Black and White Memories', meanwhile, about Hoekstra's slow drifting away from his once adored older brother, and 'Giving Up Smoking', about his wife's attempt to kick the weed, are more autobiographical. Essentially urban in his tones, Hoekstra, like Raymond Carver with his short stories, or Edward Hopper in his painting, has the unique ability to describe and to pinpoint exact moments in his own and others' lives. In its own unique and quiet way, the effects are simply stunning.

Track Listing:-
1 Margins
2 Lost Among The Ruins
3 Birmingham Jail
4 Giving Up Smoking
5 Desdemona
6 Laminate Man
7 Houses Flying
8 That's Where He Was Living
9 For The Woman
10 Broken Tower
11 The Life We Love
12 Isis
13 Undone
14 Black And White Memories
15 Stranger's Eyes

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