With its new album, psychobilly duo Hymn For Her pens a love letter to life on the road.
Imagine a hillbilly hotrod, hitting the twists and turns of a mountain road at breakneck speed. Delivering the goods. And never even scratching the paint.
A live Hymn for Her performance is something along these lines.
Ladies and gentlemen, they put on a show. As evidenced by their performance at their recent “Drive Til U Die” CD-release concert at Café in the Park — and every other concert I’ve caught.
It's a big sound. Two musicians sound like 22.
Wayne Waxing creates amazing, Link Wray-esque slide-guitar sounds on his old cigar-box guitar. He has a penchant for haunting sustained notes and sitar-like modulations — picks a mean banjo, too. As does Lucy Tight, whose voice does the sonic equivalent of Chuck Yeager punching through the stratosphere in an X-1A. It all comes together in tight harmonies, reverberating with complex resonance.
Did I mention they’re also great song writers?
Their concert showcased songs from their newly released album, “Drive Til U Die,” along with a scattering of old favorites and songs for future release. The new stuff is all about life on the road. In contrast to Frank Zappa’s “200 Motels” or Bob Seger’s “Turn the Page,” it’s a life they love.
The songs on the album unwind in a love letter to their nomadic lifestyle:
“Devil’s Train” is a swaggering, twangy promise to drive until they, well, you know.
“Onebigachinheart” is heart-rending ode to loss with the voices of their 8-year-old daughter and their late 102-year-old great aunt thrown in for good measure.
“The Road Song” burns with alt-country ferocity, like a downhome Johnny Rotten doing his own take on “Rawhide.”
“Seas of Croatia” lilts and lulls with a sprung rhythm. It's a sweet tune with hints of sadness.
“Paraguay” is a bouncy celebration of living life from day to day.
“Milkweed” expands on that Taoist theme. A hint to find yourself by losing yourself that reminds me of a Shel Silverstein story.
“Mazzy Star” is nothing but romantic. Tight’s voice reaches for the stars. Obvious, I know. But she really does.
“Hi Ho Silver” conflates the Lone Ranger’s white horse with their legendary 1961 Bambi Airstream trailer. A lyrical instruction manual for taking care of the same, evidently These kids do love that trailer.
And kids and adults alike loved the concert. Sophisticated grownups nodded to the rhythms. Their daughter danced in a creepy/funny Addams Family T-shirt. A toddler stood mesmerized while his mother watched.
“Drive Til U Die” nicely bottles the flavor of their live show. My critical mind strives to name that flavor:
"Cowpunkaltcountrybluegrassrootsrock? They sound like … Edie Brickell … Timbuk3 … Quicksilver Messenger Service … Donna the Buffalo … Johnny Rivers …
Ah, to heck with it.
Lucy and Wayne sound like themselves.