REVIEW: Big Hoke Delivers “Home” – The Album For Our Quarantine


Big Hoke is an artist from Ohio who has been making music since he was five years old. His musical journey includes time in traditional Irish bands, jam bands, and jazz bands. On the new album Home (produced by Gordy Quist), he incorporates a lot of his influences into a sound that is both modern and nostalgic.

It seems fitting to release an album called Home at a time when most of us are confined. Granted, maybe Big Hoke didn’t foresee this situation with a worldwide quarantine and everyone being stuck at home. Still, his album comes along at a time when home has taken on a whole different meaning.

After the instrumental “Wooden Meditation” is “Come Break Me.” This is largely a piano pop song with some bluesy guitar in the background. The deeper you go into the song, the more you realize the similarity to “Layla” with the piano swells and the bent guitar tones.

This album is interesting because the guitar tends to dwell in the blues sounds. The rest of the instrumentation is something else. The title track is a good example. While the guitar part is mostly based in the blues, the horns are firmly rooted in soul and the accordion brings a little Cajun flavor to the sound.

The middle of the album is highlighted by a couple cover songs. One in particular grabs the attention – particularly if you’ve ever seen Major League. Big Hoke’s version of Randy Newman’s “Burn On” is pretty true to the original. It has the same sort of ragtime feel in the piano and horns while the guitar and rhythm definitely bring some rock and roll to the mix. The other cover is “Rag Mama Rag”, and if you had to describe this with just one word, big would be a good choice. Whether it’s the fiddle, horns, or keyboards, the sound in this song seems to come from everywhere. And when you hear the backing vocals, you just might feel like you’ve been taken to church.

This album incorporates a lot of different Americana sounds from bluegrass to jazz, soul, and rock and roll. The result is a sound that is both complex and infectious. Don’t be surprised if you get a good workout from dancing to this album. Home was released on May 8 and is available everywhere. Order your copy here.

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