Joel Hoekstra "13 Acoustic Songs," 2007 Joel Hoekstra doesn't try to do a solo thing on "13 Acoustic Songs," instead going for an ensemble feel with layers of bass, percussion, keyboards, and even cello and accordion. This is Hoekstra's third CD, and the songs are all nice melodies with some fine accents. His list of credits is substantial, so he's developed some good ears that inform his playing and arrangements, even though he's known more as an electric guitarist. "Open, says G." is a delightful gem that twists enough to keep your attention. "Late Night Magic" features a simple melody (all the songs are really accessible, with little in the way of speed), aided by Tim Lefebvre's fretless bass work. "Almond Brook" is a rolling folk song with overlayed harmony lines to accent the melody. "3 Trees" has images of James Taylor's better songs -- catchy, clean, with the right guitar parts in place. "Nepal" pushes a few more exotic aural boundaries, and features more prominent percussion to help drive the chordal background. These are solid, well-constructed songs played with skill and some fine arranging. A good acoustic outing for Mr. Hoekstra.
© Kirk Albrecht, minor7th.com