Although Derek Hoke's work has too much of a rock 'n' roll edge to ever be considered appropriate bedtime accompaniment -- that is, unless you happen to find yourself nursing a broken heart in a lonely bed -- there is something innately soothing about Hoke's twangy ballads, which uncannily echo Jackson Browne.
Hoke proudly touts his admiration for and re-imagining of so-called real country music, invigorating well-trod tropes of that genre with sharp writing and balanced arrangements. Digressions on lost love and new love abound. His work is in itself a love letter to the gritty and often melancholy sound at the heart of old-school country-western blues.
Hoke writes easy going music that rolls along smoothly and rewards repeat listens, while judicious use of the electric guitar keeps things from getting too sleepy. For his second album, "Waiting All Night," Hoke has again teamed up with Dexter Green to carve out a continually evolving yet familiar niche in the country music scene.
All photos by Bryan Sutter.