Singer-songwriter AJ Hobbs teamed up with Ted Russell Kamp on his first full-length, Too Much Is Never Enough, which is due February 17th. Combining intimately personal storytelling with an outlaw spirit, Hobbs brings a soulful authenticity to the twelve track project which feature country, Texas, and gospel stylings.
Hobbs bursts out of the gate with the rousing, foot-stomping opener “Too Much Is Never Enough” which recounts his own battle with bottle before rolling into “Life Without You” a honky tonk ready number about not having a complete life without that one special person, and “The Loser” about a man who ditches the day job for the road. “I nearly lost the will to live just working that 9-5/Now the only thing that I can’t lose is the feeling of being free.”
The country gospel groover “Daddy Loved The Lord” is elevated by a fabulous piano, twangy guitar, and shuffling percussion while “Eastside” is a slow burner, a soulful, emotional ballad (recalling The Band) where he implores one to “Take a long ride to the Eastside honey and lay all your troubles down on me”. “Shit Just Got Real,” featuring the clavinet, adds some swagger and humor in a traditional barroom anthem, “Are You Going to Tennessee” is a jaunty ode to the state that offers much and “A Whole Lot of You and Me” (penned by Kamp) is a delightful romantic shuffler.
Too Much Is Never Enough is rounded out with the flirty mid-tempo duet “Take It Slow” which features Dominique Pruitt sharing a wink and a nod, “Don’t think so fast I’d like to take it slow…..We’ll just lay low til everybody clears out of the barroom/And then we'll take it slow as far as they all know/The quicker we get out of here the slower we can go”; a horn infused take on the classic “The Bottle Let Me Down” and “Tomorrow I’ll Be Hurtin’” which tells of the often lonely, costly life on the road. “Sometimes it feels like heaven, most days I’m going to hell/All you want is water but there’s nothing in the well/So help me if you can put something in my jar/Tomorrow I’ll be hurting tonight I’ll be a star.”
Hobbs delivers an album that is lyrically and sonically compelling; all the while being unabashedly honest in conveying a man’s weaknesses and strengths in a manner that is sincere, immediate, and relatable. Even though it’s only January, Too Much Is Never Enough is an early sure thing that will undoubtedly be found on many a best of year end lists.