Andrew Hibbard is a singer-songwriter from Ohio who started playing guitar at age six. He claims to have more than 300 songs, with most of those being lost or scrapped. Luckily not all of his songs have been lost or scrapped. Ten of them survived and are included on the new self-titled album (produced by fellow Ohioan Zachary Gabbard). It is his third album following Foot in the Door and Under the Knife. No matter how many songs have not yet made it into his discography, this collection of songs takes you on a trip through country, folk, and blues.
When you hear the opening track “Changes,” you’re immediately struck by the similarity to Gram Parsons and Flying Burrito Brothers. The vocals have a particularly strong resemblance to Parsons, but so does the melody with the pedal steel and the rhythm that makes it good for slow dancing toward the end of a night in a dark honky tonk.
The opening track is followed by “Homewrecker,” which also has a strong Parsons influence. But just when you think this is going to be a descendant of Flying Burrito Brothers (which is not a bad thing), Hibbard mixes things up. He takes you through “Sweet Song,” which features just acoustic guitar and harmonica and is reminiscent of Bob Dylan. He also takes you on a journey on “Talkin’ Foolin’ around Blues.” This is in the tradition of singers like Dylan and Todd Snider, and it really is an epic. The narrator mentions relationships (“married to six, engaged to five”, etc.), the types of women he’s been involved with, and (perhaps funniest of all) all the bodily damage he’s suffered as a result of all the bad relationships. The character in the song isn’t admirable, but the song is. Most impressive of all, Hibbard manages to squeeze all of this into a little more than four minutes.
While some of the country songs on the album are slower tempo songs, “I Wanna Go Back Home” is one where he dips his toe into the world of western swing. This is a song made for two-stepping with a pedal steel part that sounds like something from an Ernest Tubb song.
Hibbard is a talented songwriter and puts his talents on full display with this album. For someone who is only 25 years old, he has mastered the sad melody and the art of telling a good story. Andrew Hibbard’s self-titled album (Sofaburn Records) was released on May 8 and is available everywhere. Order your copy here.