The Buddha Den

Everything you wanted to know about the Dayton music scene and more but were afraid to ask

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

REVIEW: Jordan Hull-s/t

...sure, it's all too easy to make the obvious references to the earliest phases of a certain harmonica/guitar-playing-singer/songwriter. It's also incredibly easy to get caught up on the fact that he's only 18. The fact remains, however, that young Jordan Hull has issued an incredible debut album.

Working in the Nashville studio of Dayton ex-patriate Patrick Himes and accompanied by Dayton mainstays Brian Lakatos on bass (from Shrug) and Brian Hoeflich on drums (from Flyaway Minion/Brian Hoeflich & the All-Nighters), the nine tracks found on this disc display a command of songcraft that many of Hull's elders have yet to attain. The Sun Records-flavored "On to Me" is an instant classic, with it's singalong chorus that belies the song's strained sentimentality. The incredibly powerful simplicity of "Better Than You" may be the album's finest moment. With its hypnotic sway and pleading confessions, the song most clearly indicates the depth of Hull's writing. Album closer "How Dare He" closes the case with its winding verses echoing some of Dylan's finest moments from his earliest work and also from his post-Time Out of Mind era successes. Rather than be mired in the weight of the master's early socio-political work, Hull draws more from the romantic introspection perfected on Blood on the Tracks.

This is not to say that Hull is merely a Dylan knock-off. Sure, the comparisons are easy to make. However, Hull's other apparent affinity for the earliest strains of country-western, most notably those found through Hank Williams, infuse the album with a much-needed counterpoint. While the tracks that most readily evidence this (mid-album tracks like "Rusty Bones" and "Cause I Know") are some of the weaker moments on the album, by their mere presence they indicate that Hull possesses the depth to transcend whatever similarities his work may have with Dylan and eventually come into his own. Keep in mind, Hull is not yet even in his twenties.

Perhaps more than anyone in Dayton at the moment, Jordan Hull is poised to make a name for himself outside of the Gem City. On the strength of his timeless songwriting, his masterful guitar and harmonica work, and a voice that is at once youthful and wise, Hull may soon catch the attention of audiences that will no more easily accept the unmistakable talent before them.

For a short time, Hull has made a track available as a free download at his website. Head over now and grab the free track, as well a samples of all the tracks...

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Once, I played a set at the Night Owl right after Jordan, and the first thing I said on the mic was "A big thank you to Jordan Hull for his hilarious Bob Dylan impression," which continues to be much funnier to me than it is to anyone else.

12:11 PM  

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