KING OF THE HOBOS

an american folk-rock musical

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Review by Everett Goldner (excerpt)

The details of hobo life are intriguing to observe – as Gilly unfolds them, it’s as if a Disneyland statue had suddenly come to life and struck up a conversation with you – but the heart and soul of the show is undeniably the songs.  Jones’ chief storytelling tool is his songwriting skills, which feel organically deep and brilliantly impressionistic, conjuring between chords the flare of a match between two men in a stockyard or the hurlyburly of a car crash that kills a family and sets our narrator to the wandering life.  I was struck by how effortlessly the songs here seemed to jump from style to style while yet remaining rooted in the subject of the show – a song like ‘Modesto,’ full with bittersweet pangs of the past, brings to mind early U2, while ‘Tonight’s Enough,’ with a plainspoken, rappy patter and imagery that would feel at home in vintage photography, is some sort of pass between Beck and Tom Waits.

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