The production, by Larry Gann of Awestruck Studios, is impeccable, the work of a seasoned veteran guiding a talented newcomer. Each sound whether from a pedal steel, a distorted harmonica or a reverb-laden Telecaster is in its right place. But thats not to detract from the sheer talent of Hoskins songwriting and performance. On the albums centerpiece, You Leave First, Hoskins begins almost casually announcing, You woke up on the wrong side of the bed like a just-getting-started Jay Farrar or a more terrestrial Neil Young. But by the end, Hoskins, through a sweet combination of holler and harmony, has bared his soul, and its a remarkable thing to hear.
All the Saints perform magnificently the Architects Mike Alexander on guitar, ex-Laredo drummer Ryan Johnson and Kelpies Nathan Harold but Hoskins is the star of the show. The only amateurish mark on his performance is a tendency to reuse a particular vocal embellishment, a scalar riff that stretches the last word of the phrase and sounds exactly the same every time. But its not enough to bring down the listening experience. In fact, during the beautiful Are You a Friend of Mine? when Hoskins sings, Im gonna waltz right inna your bedroom/Im gonna stand at the foot of your bed/Kiss your forehead, my heart about melted.
The Buff Saints herald Walking the Dead with a show Friday at Daveys.