John Hasbrouck
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John Hasbrouck


Band Folk Acoustic


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The best kept secret in music


"SOME THESE DAYS: "...another brilliant document...""

After waiting 25 years to release his debut in 2002, John Hasbrouck is back with his second album. Some These Days is another brilliant document of his expressive fingerstyle and bottleneck playing repertoire. The short, touching melodies of "Back Into Days," "I'll Be Gone," and "Hubbard's Cave" showcase Hasbrouck's songwriting and playing proficiency. Equally attractive is the elegant, crisp Digipak packaging that Hasbrouck designed demonstrating some of his other artistic gifts.

(February, 2005) - Illinois Entertainer


John Hasbrouck is welcome in my home anytime. His comfortable style and fascinating musings on fingerstyle and bottleneck guitar make for fine, thoughtful company. His nicely varied, seventeen track collection offers a virtual field trip into the past world of American roots music. Hasbrouck absorbs the genre like a 55-gallon drum catching the rain. He then breathes new life into some traditional tunes such as "False Hearted Lover's Blues" and gems like A.P Carter's "Ain't Gonna Work Tomorrow". While he remains true to the spirit of the originals, Habrouck injects his own indomitable spirit as well, to good ends. He's at his best with his own compositions, which, like "To My Amazement, Still" and "Granny's Homemade Horseradish" are played from the heart. His next-door-neighbor voice lends a homemade-biscuit authenticity. Hasbrouck's liner notes reveal a gentle humor and fascination with life, history and family. Born in Chicago, he's a visual artist as well. And the man's got a guitar collection to die for. -

"SOME THESE DAYS: "Highly recommended.""

Chicago guitarist/vocalist John Hasbrouk's recently released second CD, Some These Days, is a many-sided collection of vocal tracks and instrumentals, originals and covers. Maintaining a healthy respect for the blues and American roots music, Hasbrouck's ten original tracks brim with greasy bottleneck and daring fingerstyle guitar work, while the cover tracks, such as Catfish Stephenson's "Bluebird", offer keening vocals and rich toned playing. Hasbrouck has been making music for over three decades - he's no newcomer - and Some These Days features the skilled hand of noted indie recording engineer Steve Albini - together they've put together a thoroughly engaging taste of Americana that offers as much to guitar players as it does to non-playing fans of fingerstyle and bottleneck guitar. Highly recommended. -

"SOME THESE DAYS: "Hasbrouck's mastery of the diverse traditions on which he draws is so complete that he presents a complex and convincing panorama of American musical roots.""

For anyone who enjoys American acoustic guitar-playing, this CD is a marvellous treat. From the pictures on the folding Digipak in which it comes, Hasbrouck, whose name is new to me, is no youngster, but this is only his second disc, the first having been released as recently as 2002, when he had apparently already been in the business for 25 years. Another picture is of the artist's City of Chicago street performer permit, for which he paid $25, but as it expired in November 1999 I have no idea whether Hasbrouck still earns his money on the street, although it appears from his website that he is still solidly Chicago-based.

Whatever his financial situation, Hasbrouck owns a whole lot of guitars, which are lovingly identified in the notes on the 17 songs and tunes that he plays here: 12-string National Duolian, Martin D76L, Guild F47, Yamaha FG-335, Guild D25-12, custom 12-string National Estralita. And I deliberately wrote "owns" and not just "plays" because each instrument is described as "my" this or that. The first two named are used most frequently, the 12-string National really coming into its own on the slide/bottleneck numbers, which kick in with track 1, "Ebenezer's Lower Manhattan Walking Tour" (not all the pieces have such whimsical titles, you may be pleased to hear) and recur throughout the CD. The Martin, on the other hand, is more in evidence on the cuts that feature intricate finger-picking.

When he plays bottleneck, Hasbrouck shows the influence of the bluesmen whose music he has so totally absorbed (Charlie Patton and Blind Boy Fuller are acknowledged influences) and although he is white, there is a distinctly black, blues-influenced timbre to his voice, even when he is singing songs from other genres. In fact, his work spans the whole range of home-grown American roots music, ranging from a Carter Family song ("Ain't Gonna Work Tomorrow") through traditional songs ("False-Hearted Lover's Blues," "Ellen Smith," "Henry Lee") to a jazz classic, Louis Armstrong and Jelly Roll Morton's "Wild Man Blues." There are also several songs and instrumentals written by Hasbrouck himself and one song by Catfish Stephenson, a fellow mid-Western ex-busker steeped in an eclectic mix of American blues, folk and country roots.

The influence of Delta and Piedmont blues musicians is clearly discernible on pieces such as the "classic" (but self-penned) "Henry Sloan" and the exquisite slow "Granny's Homemade Horseradish," there are echoes of jazz guitarists on the Armstrong/Morton piece and mainstream folk-style picking is ever-present on the traditional numbers: on "Ellen Smith" Hasbrouck manages at times to make his National Duolian 12-string sound like a banjo or a mandolin. However, I do not think it too fanciful to say that I heard a lot of other trace elements in Hasbrouck's playing. Perhaps unsurprisingly, there were moments of John Fahey, Stefan Grossman, Leo Kottke and other American acoustic guitarists, but I detected sounds from further afield: I am sure there was a bit of Bert Jansch in there somewhere, as well as some Martin Simpson. I did not have to struggle to come up with the last name in that list, as one of Hasbrouck's own instrumental compositions, "I'll Be Gone," which is another piece of skillful slide playing that could easily pass for a traditional tune, is dedicated to the gifted Mr Simpson. This is a kind of reverse tribute, since both Jansch and Simpson play music that, whatever its British ingredients, could not have existed without the work of the American blues and folk musicians who are Hasbrouck's main inspiration.

The range of Hasbrouck's work, admittedly circumscribed by what can be done by one man playing an acoustic guitar and sometimes singing, is nevertheless remarkable, and he switches effortlessly between the various styles. There is always a risk that moving between several different kinds of music will lead to an unnecessarily eclectic mixture -- what fashionable critics might call postmodernism while the rest of us would settle for expressions such as mishmash or a dog's breakfast. However, Hasbrouck's mastery of the diverse traditions on which he draws is so complete that he presents a complex and convincing panorama of American musical roots. Current modes -- contemporary blues, alt-country, "Americana" -- all of these forms grew in their various ways from the fertile soil that Hasbrouck tills in this remarkable recording. I am thankful to have discovered such a masterly guitarist and surprised that I have not come across his work before. If you enjoy acoustic guitar, this CD is a must. - Richard Condon - Green Man Review

"ICE CREAM: Top CDs of 2002"

"(Ice Cream is) a whimsical gem, melding Delta blues with John Fahey- and Michael Hedges-style picking and wicked sense of humor." (January 2003) - Acoustic Guitar


John Hasbrouck, a fingerstyle and bottleneck guitarist and longtime fixture of the Chicago music scene, spent 25 years honing his skills before releasing his first CD. The result, Ice Cream, is well worth the wait. Hasbrouck�s playing on the eight originals and dozen covers here is ex-ceptional, fusing the Delta blues of Charley Patton with modern influences like John Fahey and Michael Hedges. On the vocal tracks, he projects a postmod-ern whimsy, sounding at times like a cross between Kelly Joe Phelps and Lou Reed. His choice of songs is eclectic, ranging from the old folk blues "Keep It Clean" to "As Time Goes By" and a wonderfully loopy take on "House of the Rising Sun." (August 2002) - Acoustic Guitar

"ICE CREAM: "A triple-scoop treat of a debut.""

Extremely versatile fingerstyle and bottleneck guitarist, Chicago-based John Hasbrouck's first album was more than 25 years in the making, but definitely worth the wait. Composed of eight vivid originals and a dozen well-chosen covers, Hasbrouck's fret-board virtuosity is readily apparent. His highly personal, clear-toned style borrows from and blends Delta country blues and ragtime with the more modern folk sensibilities of John Fahey, Leo Kottke and Michael Hedges (emphasis on Fahey) and strains of reggae/ ska, rock and country. All played on nine various six- and twelve-string instruments--a 1931 National Duolian resonator guitar, a vintage Martin D76L and the Tommyhawk, a miniature travel guitar, among them.

Hasbrouck's musical palette is wide. Anchored by a sprinkled series of Fahey/ Blind Joe Death instrumentals ("All Those Wasted Years," "Fragment from an Unfinished Requiem,") he also offers a space-filled, weeping version of Hank Williams' "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry." There's some delightfully glimpsing lowdown blues ("Harry Smith Lays Down"), English folk (John Renbourn's floating "Lady Nothynge's Toye Puffe") and the doleful, sanctified stresses of both the extended "Behold! Rows of Zebras Miraculously Announce Nirvana" and a too brief "Kerouac Alone in Des Moines, 1947." Great titles.

A mesmerizing, easy-going vocal style also appeals, working particularly well on roots classics like "John Hardy," "Willy, The Chimney Sweeper" (a slum version of Baudelaire's "Les Paradis Artificiels") and an up-tempo, raggy take on "The House of the Risin' Sun." "I've Been Drinkin' All Night Long," by one-time Hasbrouck sidewalk busking mate Catfish Stephenson also really catches tire, along with clever arrangements of a pair of Hasbrouck's father's favorites that showcase a well-honed pop/jazz sensibility as well. Both "Cry Me a River" and "As Time Goes By" positively shimmer.

A triple-scoop treat of a debut.

(Spring 2003) - Sing Out!


Ice Cream is the first solo outing for Chicago-based John Hasbrouck and I am sure that he is pleased with the outcome. There are twenty, mostly instrumental, tracks including eight original compositions played on enough instruments to open a guitar store! These twenty titles really illustrate his wide and varied interest in acoustic guitar techniques and styles. He appears equally at home playing traditional blues such as "Keep It Clean," jazz pieces such as "Lady Be Good" or country songs like "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry." He is willing to experiment and stretch himself, and in partcular, some of his slide work has an individual flavour.

I very much enjoyed his sense of humour and his interesting choice of material although I did think some of the titles were a little too short. Having said that his longest title "I've Been Drinkin' All Night Long," an instrumental played on a beautifully toned metal guitar, has a very nice touch. All in all this is a very enjoyable set and I hope that on his next release he will include more vocals. - Blues In Britain


After 25 years of study, practice, performing, and instructing, John Hasbrouck has finally released his first album, the self-produced Ice Cream (Ruthless Rabbit). Ice Cream is a vast collection of 20 "borrowed" and original compositions (clocking in at just under an hour), showcasing Hasbrouck�s signature virtuosity of fingerstyle playing coupled with his intelligent and creative engagement with arrangements. His crisp production allows the distinctive tone and character of his numerous guitars to shine through while also revealing the human spirit animating them. A fine album that records the development and achievement of a truly accomplished musician. (August 2002) - Illinois Entertainer


Ice Cream (2002); Some These Days (2004)


Feeling a bit camera shy


John Hasbrouck burst onto the national acoustic music scene with the release of his critically-acclaimed debut cd, ICE CREAM (2002) - cited by Acoustic Guitar as one of the Top CDs of 2002. His second release, SOME THESE DAYS (2004), is a deep meditation on American Roots Music. It demonstrates Hasbrouck's firm grasp on the rich musical heritage that has shaped his art over three decades of music-making.

Hasbrouck has produced a follow-up to ICE CREAM that is rootsy and dense. SOME THESE DAYS is a many-sided collection of vocal tracks and instrumentals, originals and covers. The originals are sometimes moody, sometimes playful, often emotionally complex, and always daring. And as listeners of ICE CREAM know, Hasbrouck's interpretations of songs with traditional roots are about as far out as you can get.

Like his debut, SOME THESE DAYS showcases Hasbrouck's mastery of bottleneck and fingerstyle playing on a variety of six- and twelve-string flattop and resonator guitars. Several originals together form a tribute to the great Delta songster Charley Patton. The disk also features a deconstruction of classic country ("Ain't Gonna Work Tomorrow"), some contemporary powerhouse fingerpicking ("Back Into Days" and "Hubbard's Cave") a 12th-century English murder ballad ("Henry Lee," referred to by Hasbrouck as his "medieval bottleneck piece") and a postmodern interpretation of Appalachian mountain music ("False Hearted Lover's Blues").