By Adam Lovinus
By Lilledeshan Bose
By Gabriel San Roman
By Rachel Mattice
By Stephanie Zacharek
By Daniel Kohn
By Nate Jackson
By Mike Seeley
It would be easy to make jokes about Aliso Viejo singer/songwriter Jim Hitchcock. In the press release accompanying his CD Grateful, he touts a lukewarm two-and-a-half- (out of five) star review he received for his 2006 self-titled debut album. He only has five MySpace friends—okay, he hasn’t logged onto the account since May, but come on, one of them is Tom. One of the songs on Grateful, “The Love for the Game,” is about how much he loves basketball and includes such clunky lines as “When the rubber meets the wood and the leather hits the rim/It’s clearly understood they played to win.” (He probably doesn’t realize that sounds kinda dirty.)
Clearly, subtlety is not a priority. Taking the album title quite literally, every song is about something Hitchcock is grateful about. If lyrics such as “Laguna Canyon Road and a right on PCH, away I go, at 7 a.m.” are too obtuse for you, the liner notes helpfully spell out each target of his gratitude. (That one’s about, shockingly enough, his daily commute.) Other topics include “the gift of music, “those who overcame abuse,” and his “uncles, aunts and cousins.”
But in contrast to overly intellectually hipsters with routinely elliptical lyrics, there’s something almost refreshing about Hitchcock’s earnest no-use-for-a-metaphor approach. There’s no pretension here, just a nice guy who wants to write and play nice songs. And the music itself (on the album, Hitchcock is joined by Richard Bredice and Frank Cotinola of OC outfit the Missiles of October) is pleasant, if not generic, upbeat and poppy, with a vocal style that contains traces of Don Henley (the Eagles are mentioned in the album’s dedications).
Jim Hitchcock is not the next Bob Dylan. But based on Grateful, hearing that probably wouldn’t do much to shake his consistently sunny disposition.
for more information, go to www.myspace.com/jimhitchcock.
Attention Orange County/Long Beach musicians and bands! Mail your music, along with your vital contact info and decent high-resolution photos (plus any impending performance dates) for possible review to: Locals Only, OC Weekly, 1666 N. Main St., Ste. 500, Santa Ana, CA 92701. Or just be lazy and e-mail your MySpace link to firstname.lastname@example.org.