Derek Hoke plays unapologetically classic country from the pre-digital, hell, pre-cassette era. Think of it as sort of pensive hillbilly. Derek and his songs aren’t going to lurch forward at you and shout in your face. He’s more the type of guy to lean back and play at his own pace and draw you in on his own terms.
Hoke’s second album, Waiting All Night, is gentle and smooth, but it got that way organically, not with polishing. But don’t let those adjectives mislead you, this is not a slow, passive, or mopey album. It’s got balls, but doesn’t feel the need to tell you about them.
Check out “Sweetheart Letter.” The guitars, pedal steel, and fiddle are ready to burn the barn down, but the sage, old standup bass and snare brushes are keeping cool, and just sort of throwing out there, “Hey, maybe we don’t want to burn down the barn. It is our farm, after all, and we kind of need the barn. How about we just hang out and have a good time in the barn and not torch it? We brought beer and some smoke.”
Speaking of the guitar and pedal steel, that’s Jason Isbell and Chris Scruggs (yes, of that Scruggs lineage) respectively. The track also features some extra vocals by Caitlin Rose, as all songs should. You can download “Sweetheart Letter” below and pickup the full album here.