Photo: vieraphotographics

David Hobbes reflects on broken love and life’s unending momentum on “Fields of Blue” [BPM Premiere]

The consequences of last-minute decisions and streaming algorithms – these are some of the things that have shaped the music of California singer-songwriter David Hobbes. This is especially true when looking at the origins of his upcoming debut record, Searching for a Home, a collection of songs which seems intent on stripping back all extraneous musical adornment to reveal the bruised but purposeful heart resting at its center. Nothing unnecessary is retained; aural and emotional redundancy is anathema to Hobbes’ developed rhythmic perspective. 

This last-minute decision came as he opted to attend a songwriting workshop led by producer Rachel Efron, with Hobbes developing the base elements of his debut album while working in tandem with Efron. His intent wasn’t even to create a record, explaining that “it doesn’t really make sense in an age of streaming services. Frankly, there’s times I’m not even sure a song makes sense. The 6 most ineffective words in the English language might be, ‘I wrote a song about that’.” But after Jeff Tweedy’s book How to Write One Song randomly began playing in his Audible list, Hobbes discovered that his desire to invest himself in music had been rekindled and the workshop seemed a good place to dive into the creative process.

Distilled down to its essence, his creative method favors authentic emotion and narrative openness as opposed to cluttered ancillary sounds and excessive sentiment. Tender, wry, and spiked with a desire to evolve, his songs address love, regret, joy, and all the other impossibly chaotic things we experience, embracing the messiness inherent to personal relationships and just trying to survive without stumbling each day. He layers jangling bits of pop music alongside an intimate folksiness, whittling it all away until there’s nothing left but truth and genuine sensation and the need for companionship.

On his latest single, the bruised and gentle piano-led rambler “Fields of Blue”, Hobbes taps into a universal mournfulness, a story-song of cinematic proportions. Plucked guitar and shivering organ notes wander around, providing support as well as deference to the resonance of his words. We hear of a relationship broken apart, though the cause is left vague, furthered by possible allusions to doctors or nurses attending to patients and of a life lived for one another. So much is left unsaid; so much is contained in that silence. Life goes on, and we tend to it as best we can, shouldering enormous burdens, moving forward in hopes that some day we can loosen their hold on us.

Listen to the song below.

David Hobbes’ new album, Searching for a Home, is due out November 17. Follow him on Instagram and find more information on his website.