H.R.Gertner
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H.R.Gertner

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"H.R. GERTNER’S TWO EPs—FELL DOWN IN THE STREET + NOTHING I WANT TO GIVE UP YET"

The whole southeast is in the midst of a drought, but it’s been a fruitful year for Gainesville music–an especially amazing summer harvest. In January chamber folker Nicole Miglis released her debut EP; in February veteran bar country band The Ones to Blame released their first album in six years; June saw the debut of Nook & Cranny; and you can look forward to the first proper album from the experimental soul-folk band Levek later this year.

Right now, though, it’s time to talk about H.R. Gertner. He released the first of these EPs, Fell Down in the Street in April. Nothing I Want to Give Up Yet followed in June. Both offerings were recorded by Rob McGregor (who just did the Nook & Cranny record, and had previously done everything else important to ever come out of this town), and feature Nook & Cranny’s Mark Archer and Andrew Cook on accompaniment. Gertner plays guitar, bass, drums, organ, anything lying on the floor, and whatever’s on his person that makes noise.

Fell Down in the Street is the darker of the two, and though it has its moments of Townes-esque desperation, it feels like it’s reaching too hard for hell. It doesn’t have a totally natural sink. However(!), those exact qualities give it the gritty, off-balance character of a Rolling Stones country effort. It also recalls really early, demo-era Uncle Tupelo.

Nothing I Want to Give Up Yet is much more relaxed, confident, and funny. It makes sense that a songwriter might shoot for Townes territory only to find that it’s unreachable because people like Townes are freakishly uncommon, and that the songwriter might land more in Guy Clark’s country. Clark—the professional who looked at songwriting as a craft the whole time and lived long enough to write good and bad songs and to learn how to eventually only write great ones. (Clark is still alive, for the record, though that verb tense makes it seem otherwise.) All of that is to say that Gertner is in his best form on his second EP. He’s back to earth—dirt out of his eyes—clearer vision.

Listen to them each with your own ears on Gertner’s bandcamp and if you’re in Gainesville, go see him play his Friday night residency at The Bull. All of you who like the Todd Farrell album, I’d recommend these EPs to y’all, and to any fan of Lucero, Townes, Guy, Slobberbone, Have Gun who ever wrote a song his/herself or wanted to.

I first met Mr. Gertner when he agreed to play a Texas Music covers show I helped organize in Gainesville. He came forward with some of the best song selections that night—”The Last to Know” by Alejandro Escovedo, “Satin Sheets” by Willis Alan Ramsey, “Dunk You in The River” by Slobberbone. These EPs make good of that good taste. Nothing I Want to Give Up Yet is short-form Essential Listening.

- http://ninebullets.net


Discography

EP - fell down in the street
released 20 April 2012
EP - nothing I want to give up yet
released 11 June 2012
All songs by H.R.Gertner
Released independently via H.R.'s Rattle Trap Records
Available for purchase and streaming at hrgertner.bandcamp.com/

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Bio

Writing and performing songs that sound like Guy Clark and Tim Barry got in a knife fight H.R.Gertner feels equally at home in quiet coffee shops or rowdy punk bars. H.R. comes from the swamps of North Central Florida, calling Gainesville, FL home off and on throughout most of his life, and no longer hiding behind a band name, H.R.Gertner released two EPs both recorded with Rob McGregor (Against Me!, Hot Water Music, Whiskey & Co.) at Goldentone Studios and released independently via H.R.'s RattleTrapRecords this summer.
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Who is this H.R.Gertner anyway?

One part Hell Raiser and one part Holy Roller, H.R. writes and performs the kind of songs that cut through you like a shot of grain alcohol on a wild winter’s night; burning up your throat as it goes down, but the feeling is so damn good that you just gotta have another shot. Throwing together a heaping of Earle, a handful of Waits, and a dash of Hank III, H.R. makes a kind of music that makes all them city boys wish they were born in the country, and makes all them country boys wish they were born in the city.
Run away with H.R. into a world where salvation and sin, redemption and ruin, and success and failure all inhabit the same space between rhythm and rhyme, where car theft leads to the freedom of the open road, drunken tequila nights lead to interracial romance, and where the gutter always looks prettier from the bottom up. With H.R. behind the wheel damnation may be just a wrong turn away but if you can hold on through the darkness, enlightenment might just be a few more miles around the next bend or over the next rise. He spins dark tales and tells them with the spit and fire of the devil himself, but when all is said and done, H.R. loves you and brings you back in one piece. He may take the long way home, but he’ll get you there safe and sound eventually.