contact: Gillian Harte
In the realm of American culture, the name 'Hank' has long been synonymous with guitar pickin', hard livin' and singin' the blues. Not being one to break ranks, Hank Barbee claims ample credentials to retell that musical drunk-a-log just as a myriad of others could. However, the story of courage and stark honesty that some writers lack the grit to tackle is the exact account he chooses to reveal today. It is a narrative of disputing the passage with his darker-self and bracing each day with surrender and a determination to survive.
Hank's songs are a compelling memoir, filled with self-inflicted hurt, hopeless love offerings, and themes of sacrifice and redemption. The soundscape beneath his iconic voice and bone-breaking lyrics overflows with passion. Out of his mouth pours a raspy baritone drawl, every word directed with clarity and purpose. This message tossed upon the listener like a confession, given with an integrity only found in the truth.
Citing a varied array of guitar heroes from Mark Knopfler to Doc Watson to David Lindley to Duane Allman, Hank uses an arsenal of stringed instruments to create his harmonic backdrop. His mastery of lap steel, dobro, acoustic and electric guitars provides all the proof of his sonic capabilities. All these talents, in addition to production credits, grace the liner notes of his self-titled, debut release on Eleven O'clock Records.
The album's opening track, "Love Like a Suicide", demonstrates Hank’s innate ability to meld a dark lyrical tale of codependency with colorful guitar hooks, an infectious melody and powerful chord structure. "Deluge" does the same with its refreshing subject matter about finding salvation amidst losing it all in the flood. "Tangled" is a musically gorgeous lover’s lament. “Give Back” portrays the eternal quest for finding ones place in the circle of life. Finally, be it directed at an ex-lover or at oneself, this line from the album's final cut might well sum up a lot: "I gave up the pills, I gave up on the booze, but [“ The Hardest Thing ”] I ever did was givin' up on you."
All the elements are present. The bold commanding beauty in his writing hits the mark. The sound is fresh, but familiar. And that voice, once it hits you, becomes forever unmistakable. Hank Barbee is unique, living his story and his light shines through his artistry.