The Compact
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The Compact

Red Hook, New York, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2008 | INDIE

Red Hook, New York, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2008
Band Rock Alternative


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Erin Hobson Compact set to play Mountain Jam in Hunter"

A compact is a serious commitment between individuals and no more so for the Erin Hobson Compact, whose two partners, both from Red Hook, take life lightly, but music seriously. Erin on guitar and Steven W. Ross, on bass, will open their arms wide to embrace an even larger and appreciative audience at this weekend’s Seventh Annual Mountain Jam in Hunter.

“Erin and I have a compact, a formal agreement, that we will only make the music we love to make,” Ross said in an interview this week. He said the compact means they are real friends and partners. “We’re here for each other and the music, as friends and as artists.”

Ross said the two met about three years ago, when he heard Hobson perform at a local club; he, at the time, was studying bass. He also is an arranger and has a music studio where he ultimately recorded ans produced Hobson’s first, highly-regarded album, “Talk Radio.” Their second album, “Fortune Cookie Philosophy,” was released in February.

“Erin,” Ross said, “is petite, very pretty, almost innocent, an unusual presence on the stage. Until she starts to play.” He said she has studied under the best masters, like Mark Dzuiba, Tom Dempsey, Ted Green and Ron Eschete, and really knows guitar. “She’s an explosive guitarist,” he said, adding “so much so that audiences are sometimes startled.”

Ross said the contrast of “the soft voice and the assertive playing gives The Compact unique command of the music and the stage.” He noted that he and Hobson have changed the name to The Compact, but already were set to play at the Mountain Jam as The Erin Hobson Compact.

Ross said that he and Hobson usually perform as a duo, but when performing as a band they add renowned drummer Gary Burke and the equally accomplished Ross Rice on keyboard.

Ross said The Compact’s sound of original music has texture, color, rhythm, syncopation. And reserve.


“The music is what we don’t play,” Ross said. Acknowledging the conundrum, he explained that The Compact’s power comes from reserve. “We don’t have to show everything we know. We don’t have to play hard or fast or loud. Our music comes from real strength – the whole package of melody, lyrics, sound.”

Ross said both he and Hobson believe the process of writing is more like “finding” – the music finds them and not vice versa. He said Erin brings the words. He edits, arranges and produces.

“We think of each song as a nugget, some form of the vibe,” Ross said. He said they both like African, Caribbean, jazz, rock, R&B and those influences find their way into the music. “It’s a mixture of musical styles and values,” he said.

For example, he said the single, “Purple Crayon,” from “Fortune Cookie Philosophy,” is getting a lot of radio play, but it’s very retro with almost a waltz tempo that’s very infectious.

The Compact’s next album, “It’s a Wash,” is in production now.

Further information may be obtained at


What: The Erin Hobson Compact

Where: Colonel’s Hall, Mountain Jam, Hunter Mountain, Hunter - The Daily Freeman

"CD Review: The Erin Hobson Compact "Fortune Cookie Philosophy""

The songwriting team of Erin Hobson and Steven Ross churns out catchy melodies and evocative syncopations that never cease to surprise. From alt-pop, rock, Americana, funk, folk, and a world-music sound, their one-of-a-kind ensemble weaves tapestries of intimate, thought-provoking musical fare with unexpected lyrical depth and sensitivity alongside Hobson’s smooth, cozy croon. One earful of these huge grooves, rich colors, precision-perfect textures, and adventurous solos will keep you coming back repeatedly to pick up nuances you may have missed the first time around.

Hot on the heels of 2009’s highly acclaimed Talk Radio (Choking Chicken Records), this uncategorizable disc is a welcomed collection for triple-A and college radio. Uplifting, eclectic, and tight with stellar mixes, it combines different generations of music into a sound that’s fresh and new. The tunes are punchy, clean, and diverse—grown-up without being old. The slinky title track sits on a laidback, almost urban groove, with jazzy chords and colors, and is followed by the political “Material Things” and its funky, driving rhythms, sweetly smooth bridge, and subtly angry octave vocals. “So Seriously” blasts off with guest Pete Levin’s gospel organ and ends with an a cappella vocal and funky groove. The beautiful ballad “Purple Crayon” will leave Hobson’s lovely voice in your head for days. - Chronogram

"These Are Not Love Songs "The Fortune Cookie Philosophy" of The Erin Hobson Compact"

Maybe it’s a testosterone thing. Most killer guitar players can’t get over their own chops, aren’t really songwriters, and remain terrified of playing at an appropriate volume. With Erin Hobson it’s a whole different equation. Here’s a young woman with a virtuosity that can thrill an audience, but who chose to collaborate with a partner to find something more important. The resulting band, The Erin Hobson Compact, categorically refuses to be pinned down. Or musically wank. In fact, the contrast between her soft voice and those fat grooves are part of what distinguishes her obvious musicality, with singing that bears a subliminal similarity to Sade, paired with playing traversing Django Reinhardt to the best from decades of rock. In the case of The Compact the music comes first, like hand blowing a bottle and then figuring out exactly what letter gets placed in it.

For this band it’s about finding other sounds, and something else besides “I broke up with my boyfriend/girlfriend!” to sing about. What a concept! The songs are also credited to her partner, Steven W. Ross, who rather humbly claims to make little more than “adjustments,” so that at this juncture his contributions remain a pleasant mystery. It may be their special working relationship that allows them to blur the distinctions between writing and arranging.

Their new release, Fortune Cookie Philosophy, combines characters and voices that suggest a range of styles that could potentially cancel each other out. That’s right—that evil adjective “eclectic” rears its many-pointed head. But there’s also a sound “in there” that is recognizable. The band’s repertoire includes, urban, country, jazz, Latin, and more. Econo-funk grooves, such as found in “Water Signs” or “Material Things,” keep us on our feet with deft drive and effortlessly flowing rhythms. Gary Burke (Joe Jackson, Professor Louie and the Crowmatix) is one of several drumming legends in the Greater Woodstock area: listen to the superb set-up of almost any of these tracks and you know why. And could it be that much of what Steven W. Ross brings to the party, aside from a never-brag/never-sag bass line, is one damn sweet mix? The difference is in the ears. For The Compact goes for what was once part of popular music, but is missing from much of today’s music: color and texture. And to achieve these objectives you have to open up space—not a terribly popular notion in rock today. The difference is immediately noticeable between their first effort, Talk Radio—a fine B&W recording—and Fortune Cookie Philosophy, which is technicolor, baby...

Case and point: “Purple Crayon”—the third track on their new CD—puts this group in a whole new league. Guitars fall back as supporting voices in a spare, stately arrangement of the sort we’d expect of a major talent on a major label. Without breaking ground or re-inventing the wheel, the song simply unfolds with an inexorable dignity. It doesn’t sound like anybody else. Which means, of course, that it sounds exactly like The Erin Hobson Compact, who marry melody, lyrics and grooves for life.

Ross Rice provides a wide open, magisterial piano until the ride-out, which features more tasty licks than a tapas bar. “Purple Crayon” will get The Compact national airplay, I predict, and should by all rights take them to a new level. Of course, it would help if the rest of the record had something similar on it. Guess again.

“This Is Not a Love Song,” is built on a clave pattern. Not Sade, not Michael Franks, not Tito Puente, but possibly informed by them. And finely attuned information, too. I cop an attitude around track five, “Water Signs,” and no sooner than I do that track six nails me with inky pens to a paper white cross:

“So you’re a critic.
I can tell...
By the way that you can offend me so well.
So you’re a critic, another jerk…
Let’s me know after the show
How much better I can do and I know,
That everyone’s a critic
A goddamned cynic,
And I’ll do what I do,
For me not for you.”
Talk about perfect song placement, an under-rated art. “Everyone’s A Critic” fulfills the age-old function of a novelty tune capable of disarming an ornery crowd—a throwback to an earlier scene where audiences actually listened intently to a lyric. Why? Because it’s great fun and oh so, painfully true. Until, that is, violinist extraordinaire Larry Packer takes the solo and once again the ride out brings a sure smile.

I’m beginning to realize why The Compact delivers a great live show. It’s because everyone’s a real player. But unlike so many jam bands, when you listen close there’s actually a song here under the solos.

“What About Me? (What About You?)” might just be the crowd pleaser on this record. It’s total guitar ear candy: A fast Tex-Mex-Caribbean frolic that finishes long before you want it to. “Life,” showcases a singer/songwriter good enough to deserve a hot band. Hobson strikes again with the Sarah McLachlan-esque “So Seriously,” this tim - Roll Magazine

"Talk Radio CD Review by celebrity studio musicians"

I've been a big fan of The Erin Hobson Compact's live shows for a few years now, but now there's another reason to rejoice, their first full-length album "Talk Radio" is now available!

Produced by bassist, co-writer, and advertising guru Steven W. Ross, Erin's debut album is chock full of great songs. My favorite is "Divide," featuring a rockabilly groove set on fire with Erin's superlative fret work. - Justin Foy, WDST, Radio Woodstock, Woodstock, NY

Today was my ?rst chance to listen to your CD I'm glad I did ... I think the album is great. A terri?c listen ... Bravo! - Peter Erskine, Jazz drummer and composer, Steely Dan, Weather Report, Diana Krall.

"Erin's voice wraps around you like a fleece blanket on an autumn evening--warm and cozy, it keeps the chill of the world off." - Brian Mahoney, Editor Chronogram Magazine

The songs are wonderful. A great job with the production. The instrumentation is lush -- it's really very good. - Robyn Flans, celebrity journalist with Modern Drummer Magazine, The Emmys, Oscars and Golden Globes, In Touch, American Profile, Statement Magazine

"All very intimate and thoughtful and most importantly, believable. All in all, excellent. Well done Erin and Steven." - Andy Newmark, drummer extraordinaire, John Lennon, Sly And The Family Stone, David Bowie, B.B. King, Carly Simon, Eric Clapton, George Harrison, Rickie Lee Jones, Roxy Music, Sting, Pink Floyd, etc - Quotes from music industry pros

"Talk Radio CD Review by Alisa Kwitney"

Hard to define, Easy to Love!

What do you get if you combine two parts acoustic coffee house, one part Latin jazz, and then throw in a dash of alternative rock? You get The Erin Hobson Compact. Tough to categorize, this group’s sensitivity, sensual musicality and social awareness span too many musical genres to count in one review.

Some have called Hobson a female John Mayer. On stage, she exudes a sense of unself-
conscious joy as she colors her songs with lush chords and expands them with virtuoso solos. Bassist, producer and co-writer, Steven W. Ross hits upon arrangements and provides lyrical syncopations that showcase Hobson’s impressive guitar skills and haunting vocals. At once innocent and knowing, these songs feel like the soundtrack to some perfect indie romantic ?lm – one which hasn’t been made yet.

The debut album’s title track, “Talk Radio,” just may be an anthem for the Jon Stewart generation. There’s been industry buzz about Hobson’s music for years, but so far, she hasn’t yet found the wider audience she deserves. Talk Radio may be the album that changes all that. Alisa Kwitney, journalist and author of Vertigo Visions: Art From The Cutting Edge Of Comics. - Alisa Kwitney: journalist and author of Vertigo Visions: Art From The Cutting Edge Of Comics.

"Talk Radio CD Review by Dave Malachowski"

David Malachowski

ARTIST: Erin Hobson Compact

ALBUM: “Talk Radio” (Choking Chicken Records)

Certainly one of the better guitarists in the Hudson Valley area, and surely one of the only strong female soloists around, period, Red Hook’s Erin Hobson has finally come into her own with this fine release.

Hobson has spent time in Los Angeles, and these days plays all over the area with her group, the Erin Hobson Compact. Often such luminaries like drummer Gary Burke and keyboardist Ross Rice can be seen accompanying her.

Jumping around genres like a true musician, Hobson hops between the pure pop of “Like This” and “Holding On,” the country tinged “Divide” and even the folkish, fiddle-enhanced “Brick Wall.”

The wistful title track “Talk Radio” is a high point, as are the dramatic, desire-fueled “Good Stuff,” the yearning “Crash” and the dreamy and liquid “Too Late.” The moving “Leave The Light On” brings it all home.

Her songs of life and love are sung with deep emotion and vulnerability, and played with heart and soul, so much so, you’ll want to play them over and over again. Hobson is commercial not because she blatantly pushes buttons and appeals to the lowest common denominator, but because she’s just really good.

Remember? The way it used to be. - The Daily Freeman

"Far From Home Review"

Far From Home was produced by Chris Cubeta and recorded in Poughkeepsie. Here Hobson's honest, revealing lyrics light up "Never Knew Me," in which a melodic, slinky slide line makes for a gorgeous hook. An impressive guitar ride pushes the moody "Dreaming in Bleu," while Hobson's emotional delivery digs deep in "Lust," a luxurious, rainy afternoon love fest you can only dream you were part of. Hobson herself is without an ounce of pretense, but the music is deceptively powerful and full of grace and gravity. For more information, visit

- David Malachowski - Chronogram

"Good Stuff CD review"

Erin Hobson - The Good Stuff
With all the ladies delving into singer/songwriter mode, L.A.'s Erin Hobson may have something special. She has a wonderfully emotive vocal timbre, somewhat reminiscent of Eddie Brickell and also proves to have talents in providing the acoustic guitar vehicle for her words. "Dreaming in Blue" tugs at your emotions as Erin turns the vocal power up a notch, and "Fish in the Sea" shows a more subtle facet to her vocal intensity. "Lust" has a more innocent appeal rather then a sultry approach as the title may suggest. Passionate and ear catching music. URL: E-mail:
- Music Morsels website

"Go Girls CD Review"

Erin Hobson
"The Good Stuff"
Genre: acoustic
Reviewed by Madalyn Sklar
What a refreshing CD! This L.A. singer/songwriter is a gem. Passionate lyrics, a beautiful voice and skillful guitar playing keep me coming back for more.
Hit Picks: "Good Stuff" and "Fish In The Sea"

"Talk Radio CD Review by Sharon Nichols"

I love this record. I’ve been playing it on a loop for days. A feel-good album if ever there was one, Talk Radio is a 10-track trump. Not that the themes are all that chipper, mind you. Hobson’s laid-bare lyrics put the world under a microscope with a wary eye. Even so, they are hoisted up by a hopeful, upbeat musical landscape that just won’t quit. Folk pop one minute, country twang the next, there are many musical bases covered here, and the production and players are stellar. Hobson has a gift for churning out catchy, melodic tunes that adhere to the walls of your skull like Stickum. Her voice, nearly vibrato-free, is smooth, sweet, and immensely pleasing.

I’m hearing bits of Lisa Loeb, the Indigo Girls, and the Sundays here, but there’s so much more. I simply cannot get “Crash” out of my head, a glorious guitar-strumming pop tune of hope and longing. “Divide” is pure flaming rockabilly fun, fun, fun. “Good Stuff” is jazz tinged, which is not surprising, since Hobson’s background is heavily saturated in jazz guitar. The ballad “Far From Home” is contemplative and loungey. I’ve only seen Hobson perform her coffeehouse fare solo, but I hear the Compact’s live set is amazing. Catch it on November 1 and 6 at the Rhinecliff Hotel and November 20 at Hyde Park Brewing Company. - Chronogram Magazine


LP: 1@AX (One At A Time) TBR 2014

LP: Fortune Cookie Philosophy, February 2011

Current single is playing on radio stations all over the country, "Purple Crayon." "Not A Love Song" is playing on Sirius and XM Satellite Radio.

LP: Talk Radio, 2009

Singles were "Brick Wall" and Divide"



About The Band: This one-of-a- kind ensemble weaves musical tapestries that continue to captivate (listeners) with an instantly recognizable sound all their own. Mixing styles like musical chemists, The Compact effortlessly combine elements of Roots, Rock, R&B, Jazz, Funk and Folk that projects a strong sonic signature, bringing audiences to their feet. Their sound is marked by catchy hooks, irresistible grooves, and adventurous musicianship. 

At The Compacts core is the song-writing team of Steven W. Ross and Erin Hobson churning out infectious grooves and melodies. The band-members resumes read like a veritable whos who from decades of musical hits and major tours. And as they hit the stage, this power becomes obvious. 

1@AX, The New Album: With each album release, The Compact has evolved its approach and sound. The third, 1@AX (One At A Time), an ambitious collection of twelve tracks, and includes three live cuts, is headed for a spring 2014 radio and retail release. The album rocks with killer grooves, catchy hooks and a new quirkiness that hits are made of. 

Fans of the The Compacts shows will notice that 1@AX feels like live. In addition to the ten new original studio tracks, the finished album will contain three live covers recorded at the celebrated Club Helsinki, located in Hudson, NY. The recordings capture the bands unique power and the excitement of the bands improvized jams that fans have asked for. 

Radio Success: Talk Radio, released in spring of 2009s was The Compacts first, and critically acclaimed record. In 2011 the band followed up with Fortune Cookie Philosophy, which contained three tracks that simultaneously reached rotation on hundreds of Roots, Triple-A, College, and Non-Comm radio stations from New Hampshire to Hawaii. Tracks from both albums continue to play on nationally syndicated radio shows, Sirius-XM radio, and in the bands ;local area on WDST, WRWD, WKZE, WVKR, and WRPI. 

Live Performances: The Compact performs regularly at every top music venue in New Yorks Hudson Valley, as well as in and around New York City. Theyve headlined and opened for international acts in many genres, including Willie Nelson, Loretta Lynn, Orleans, Jakob Dylan, David Johansen, Brad Meldhau, Robert Randolph, Rusted Root, Dave Mason, and the list goes on. And at theaters and music halls such as The Bardavon, UPAC, Bearsville Theater, Towne Crier, The Falcon, Helsinki Hudson, Rockwood Music Hall, The Bitter End, and many more. And festivals such as Mountain Jam, RiverFest NY, Pleasantville NY, aste Of Litchfield CT, Taste Of Amherst MA and more. 

Band Members