Harry Hochman New Album ‘Inside Out’ Coming October 6th, 2023

There are moments when Harry Hochman sounds like a cross between James McMurtry and Gordon Lightfoot. His songs come off as serious singer/songwriter stuff, much like these aforementioned artists. His eleven songs are hard, lyrically, but much softer sonically. In other words, they’re lot like a lot of folk music.

Stylistically, however, these songs can be quite different from track to track. For example, “Wherever I Go” rolls along merrily, much like a gentle Grateful Dead jam. Then with “Midnight Crow,” with its consistent fiddle, has a Southern Gothic feel to it in places. Lyrically, though, Hochman songs can be a bit of a challenge to figure out. For example, he sings about riding the elephant in the room in one, appropriately enough, titled “Elephant In the Room.” This is fun wordplay, but a lot like some of Elvis Costello’s lyrics, it sounds a bit like wordplay for wordplay’s sake at times.

Instrumentally, there’s no questioning the quality of the playing on this album. If you enjoy a lot of fiddle, mandolin, and some acoustic piano (especially on “Facing The Past”), you’ll probably warm up quickly to this release. There’s just so much ‘real’ instrumentation, performed by real players, it is a treat to the acoustic fan’s ears. Hochman’s voice sounds perfectly comfortable surrounded by these sounds. He does most all the singing, although a female voice can be heard accompanying him during “Facing The Past.” The latter also has a rare, but sparse, electric guitar solo.

Some songwriters spell out exactly what they want you to know. Then again, others give you just the bare bones and then expect the listener to fill in the details. This second approach appears to be the way Hochman likes to operate. After listening to these songs, you may end up with more questions than answers, which seems just fine to Hochman. An exception to this rule, however, is “Caryville.” This song is a much more pointed character study. It’s about a girl who also sounds like one lonely girl. The listener ends up hurting for this poor one.

Many of these songs appear on the surface to be depressing. “Coming Apart” and “Whole Lot Of Nowhere” are not song titles that scream, ‘Let’s party!’ Nevertheless, Hochman doesn’t sound especially sad when singing these (and others). He has a warm, inviting voice, which makes his songs come off much more comforting than off-putting.


You might expect – with the instrumentation used to create this album – it would sound a lot more country than it does. Then again, folk music has strong acoustic roots much like country. Chances are, you’ll be coming back to these songs again and again, just to get a little closer to their meanings. You’d probably need to know Hochman personally to know exactly what his songs are about. Then again, one wonders if even his closest friends are also baffled by what he’s singing about here.

An album title like Inside Out appears to suggest turning something inside out to see what’s really inside. Harry Hochman’s not showing all his cards, though, so good luck exploring this intriguing album release. It’s a good one, however, whether you fully get it or not.

-Dan MacIntosh