Folk music is one big tent in terms of stylistic diversity, a fact encapsulated nicely by the latest LP by the singer/songwriter Ryan Hobler. Produced by Andy Baldwin (Bjork, Saint Lucia, Wakey! Wakey!), The Elusive Yes runs the gamut of folk styles in 12 tracks. Hobler himself lists Paul Simon, Elliott Smith, and Nick Drake as formative influences on his music, but even more can be heard throughout this album, which you can stream exclusively below. “Bob vs. Jack vs. The World” takes Hobler’s affable tenor and marries it to a tune that wouldn’t sound out of place in a barn hoedown. The indie-friendly “Holding On With All Their Might” brings to mind the music of Sufjan Stevens. Best of all is the subtly brooding “See What You’re Doing to Me”, which adds a nice dash of noir to the variegated experimentation of The Elusive Yes. All in all, anyone that’s a fan of indie folk or the increasingly popular trend in acoustic music writ large will find something to like in this not-so-elusive album.
Hobler explains the sources of inspiration for his new recording to PopMatters: “The songs that make up The Elusive Yes were written over a period of time when I found myself finally opening up and embracing the world and the people around me. To my surprise, after years and years of denying and avoiding the simple truths of who and how I am, whom and how I love, the good, the bad, the awful and the awe-inpsiring, one day I woke up and said ‘Yes’ to all of it.”
The Elusive Yes is out on 20 January.