Muktiland Records (label)
30 October 2020 (released)
30 December 2020
Fred Hostetler won Best Singer Songwriter award in 2019 by LA Music Critics and while this set is stripped about as bare as you could imagine the eight original songs here clearly show his talents in the songwriting area.
This is a classic ‘Covid Release’ – the whole thing conceived as an element of reflecting the isolation that Covid is causing and it is just as the album title suggests – acoustic Blues played without any embellishments from his solitary chair.
And it is rather excellent.
The man himself says of this “This is what I call living room blues. By that I mean stripped down, unplugged, and recorded at home in my living room. Whatever you may think of it, I find it intimate and refreshing” and it definitely has a very close and intimate feel to it, with the acoustic of a living room rather than the live acoustic of a barn or studio.
Hostetler’s guitar playing is superb but it is primarily there to back up his vocals which have a slightly hoarse and clearly impassioned tone to them.
I have always been a fan of country Blues and this could almost be a Lightning Slim or Mississippi Fred McDowell collection. Hostetler’s writing is of that standard without question and even though the style is ancient he touches on modern themes as well as the classic humanities of the old Bluesmen.
It is a really fresh and instantly comfortable album to listen to and I found myself cueing it us time and again and listening all through. One of the better releases of 2020.