The Hanging Road by Joseph Huber hit me right away. I was hooked by the dirty, high lonesome fiddle at the beginning of the first song, “Same River Twice,” the first time I heard it and the record didn’t let go of me until the end of the second full play. It has an old-timey feel without feeling old-timey. The traditional instruments are played just gritty enough to suit my taste. The Hanging Road was a winner immediately.
Several of us writers talked about really liking this record but no one jumped forward to write a review. I listened to it a bunch around the same time that I started listening to the Arlo McKinely & The Lonesome Sound record. I would jump back and forth between the two and eventually realized that I was playing the Arlo record more and that the songs stuck in my head were his.
Eventually a couple of us had a conversation in the Nine Bullets break room and decided The Hanging Road was a good record but we just didn’t have much to say about it. This lead me to listening more and thinking more about it. I think where this record falls short is in the lyrical depth. The lyrics aren’t bad, they never creep into the hokiness of the worst of Old Crow Medicine Show but they also never reach for a new use of language. Maybe that’s too harsh of a criticism but I want to see Huber continue to develop his craft because there’s a serious possibility that he can make an album-of-the-year caliber record. Even though The Hanging Road is not that record it is still worthy of your ears and your money.