*The Afterneath* in American Songwriter
I am thrilled to have received this brilliant review of The Afterneath by Paul Zollo in American Songwriter magazine:
A remarkable album, and great achievement. Jascha Hoffman, who is both a gifted songwriter and a journalist, has a beautiful gift for the telling detail, the small use of language that lets us see humans at their most human. This is a song cycle built on the obituaries of recently passed Americans: some famous, some infamous, some obscure. All are poignant testaments to the human spirit, to the life narrative we all write each day but is incomplete till the end, and then collected, often in haste, into these capsulized newspaper pieces which memorialize and preserve our life stories. It’s perfect song content, especially if you are a lover, as are most of us, of the dark song. These are by nature dark songs, and some darker than others, whereas some are triumphant and even heroic in the completion of a life, as in “The Mercy Machine,” about Jack Kevorkian. The music is plaintive and pianistic. Or there’s “The Atom Bomb,” about Joan Hinton, “By day on the mesa/by night at the lab…” working on the construction of the Atom Bomb, which circles around the line, “You’re still burning and I’m still breathing….” “The River” has a country swing lilt that is welcome and touching, about Will Boag, with long lyrical lines beautifully crystallized in the line, “I can almost hear the river in the rhythm of your heart,” which is at the center of this album, that in the various rhythms of all these diverse hearts we can find a pathway to the source, to the place all rivers flow. And that in the diversity of these stories there is the one story, the story of being human, that connects all songs with serious joy.
Thank you, Paul, for your gentle and kind attention. As usual, you see to the heart of the matter.