Odetta Hartman - Old Rockhounds Never Die - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Odetta Hartman - Old Rockhounds Never Die

by Ljubinko Zivkovic Rating:9 Release Date:2018-08-17
Odetta Hartman - Old Rockhounds Never Die
Odetta Hartman - Old Rockhounds Never Die

Odetta Hartman’s sophomore release Old Rockhounds Never Die is one of those albums that did not make it to the end of the year lists but should have certainly been considered by many. Reasons could be its odd summer release date, an artist not really known to most listeners, but probably most of all, the unease it can create with many that like their music filed into neat and clean categories.

But let us start at the beginning. If the name Odetta makes a connection with that legendary folk/blues singer, you’re at the same time close, but then also far off. Actually, Hartman herself is originally from New York, but currently residing with her partner/producer Jack Inslee, who had quite an influence on the sound of this album.

What we get on this album is an amalgam of ‘old timey’-sounding folk/blues/rock/Americana where Hartman not only sings but plays all the instruments with Inslee’s production that can be labeled as something as ‘organic’ electronics. Hartman’s vocals that often remind of Karen Dalton, another folk cult legend is backed by her plucked banjo, strings and electric guitar in combination with something that only sounds like ‘standard’ electronics, but Inslee seems to have perfected the art of field recordings to include stuff like pepper grinders, keys dangled on radiators, running faucets and others all made to sound like absolutely something else (try “Freedom”, for size).

But all that could be labeled as trickery if Hartman did not possess such a great voice and is able to give all the instruments she uses the desired effect. And that effect is quite nicely described by the album’s cover.  Throughout the album and songs like “Sweet Teeth”, “Misery”, “The Ocean”, where Hartman catches the soul of the ‘old music. There is this cavernous, distant and eerie effect to the music that replaces the crackle of those old 78rpm records or the field recordings somewhere in Appalachia. All that covered in Inslee’s electronic modifications.

Ok, so Old Rockhounds Never Die may have missed the best of lists, but at some point. like those 78 records, it is bound to be re-discovered and appreciated for all it comes up with.

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