hey! wait a minute…you’re welcome…you’re a l l welcome! And a friend of a friend is our friend and he’s friends with our friend Stephan Eicher who’s a longtime friend of ours like you, aren’t you?
Not to go cruising too much further down the schizo lane but Hank Shizzoe real name is Thomas Erb and you can call him Henry also because Hank is the nickname for Henry, just like the Bukowski character Henry Chinaski who was called Hank by the few people who loved him. Our Hank will be here as part of his trio and with a hot-off-the-press, brand new album in the bag. His 13th no less, cross your heart, the great «Songsmith», produced by his and our friend, Stephan Eicher.
Hank and his «roots-rock with a twist» according to Rolling Stone, have been around, been rounding the globe even, like in played-there-done-that, even so, all still mostly under the radar, making him a regular unsung hero. This side of oblivion but still underappreciated for a guy with his kind talent and craft in creating his synthesis of words, guitar and voice. He’s toured with Stephan Eicher, worked with him as a sideman and as a session guy in the studio. But when they teamed up for «Wordsmith» it was Stephan who kicked Hank out of the foggy shadows of the sameold, sameold - hey, what are friends for? For example, he made him relax and enticed him to whoop it up, he shook up Shizzoe’s musical roots with sound distortions, sprayed them with surreal humor and salt’n’peppered benign blues pieces into explosive trip-hop exuberances.
One time, when they were touring together and staying at the same hotel, Eicher, already in his hotel room, tired, spent, ready to call it a day, heard Hank’s music wafting through the airshaft «…so very deep and so very wide open like a painting by Ferdinand Hodler.» This album is about Hank, or call him Henry, resurrected and reborn with the guidance of his friend Stephan. And it represents a year in the life of two men who should’ve known each other long before, yet,
that’s life at play. Better late than never, you’ll say.