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Album Review

Doug Hoekstra has built his reputation as a literate singer-songwriter. His deep whisper of a voice recalls Lou Reed, and the minimal electric arrangements of Waiting are reminiscent of the Velvet Underground circa 1968. Songs like "Theresa" project a dark world where five-year-old girls stand as lookouts for inner-city gangs and twelve-year-old girls sell their babies on the black market. The material works best when Hoekstra fills out the arrangements with vocalists Amy White on "Dark Side of a Pearl" and George Marinelli on "Screwball Comedy." The latter tune has a particularly interesting mix, with Hoekstra's vocals panned to the right track and Marinelli's to the left. From a lyrical point of view, there is much to ponder on songs like "Blow Beautiful Dreams" and "Sunday Blues." Impressionistic lyrics like "She's stopped by her reflection/Checks out her makeup and her hair/And the glass shines in all directions/She's looking for something that's already there" capture a mood while avoiding the obvious singer-songwriter clichés. From a musical point of view, however, Waiting has less to offer. While the arrangements aren't bare-bones, the somber organ and electric guitar become a steady hum after several songs. The melodies, likewise, aren't strong enough to keep the material separated. Fans of Hoekstra's past work, however, will find much to like about Waiting. The album will also please listeners looking for a singer-songwriter who knows the difference between poetry and a journal entry. ~ Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr., Rovi

Customer Reviews

confessions of a hoekstra junkie

Okay, so I'll lay my cards on the table. Doug's a pal of mine, so I'm by no means unbiased. He's super cool - the kinda guy you'd wanna go to a minor league baseball game with, so I hear, or would fancy a talk about US foreign policy over a pint of bitter at a Mancunian pub. He loves his wife and his son and works his tail off and that kinda stuff says a lot. Still, I'm a pretty discerning music listener, and in every sense: vocal, lyrical, instrumental, production qualities all factor in and I'm not always easy to please. That said, let it be known that "Waiting" is simply a gem of a record. Doug's songs are like Raymond Carver's short stories: they unfold like tiny worlds that you're just kinda dropped into without having any orientation and without much time to get your bearings before being whisked off to the next one. Doug's delivery is at once endearing, like a whispered conversation with a friend in the corner of a party when you don't other people eavesdropping, and at the same time disorienting, but in the most pleasant of ways, like a first "I love you," or like when somebody you think you know well says something completely unexpected, seeming to speak in a voice not their own. "Sunday Blues" is a favorite of mine. Download it and if you're digging what Doug's selling, download the rest. If Dylan's your tipple, or, for that matter, Vic Chestnutt, Lambchop, Lou Reed...heck, if you like good music of any sort, branch out and discover Doug. You can thank me later.


Born: Columbus, OH

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Guitarist, singer/songwriter Doug Hoekstra, who grew up in Chicago, started playing in garage bands as a teenager. Between 1989 and 1991, he was a member of the Chicago-based group Bucket No. 6. The band released the CD High on the Hog in 1991. Hoekstra recollects that Bucket No. 6 was an alt-country band before there was such a term, inspired by Graham Parsons, Johnny Cash, and Hank Williams. The members of Bucket No. 6 moved to Austin in 1991, where they lasted for about a year before breaking...
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Waiting, Doug Hoekstra
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