Jeff Hinnendael

Layla (The American Dream)

Somehow I've known Jeff for nearly 15 years. Hi, Jeff! Remember how you played drums in our one-off ska band Phat Matt & the Pogo 6? Well, this isn't easy to admit, but the stuff you're doing now blows our old band away.

“Layla (The American Dream)" is Hinnendael's second solo album, and his work continues getting stronger, particularly his singing. Overall there's an indie-folk sound, with perfect vocal harmonies and fine acoustic guitar interplay. There's a Paul Simon vibe to it, but things get varied, with "Steel Horse" turning into a full-on Doors jam — all the more impressive since Hinnendael's the only musician on the record.

Then there's “I Hope My Guitar Doesn't See Me Like This," my favorite anthropomorphized instrument title since Tom Waits' “The Piano Has Been Drinking." But I think my favorite song here is “Maria," with its harmonica and plaintive chorus: "Aw, man/I can't go to bed/'Cause I'm thinkin' 'bout Maria." Turns out that million-watt smile on the album's cover belongs to the Maria in question, with the shot snapped moments after Jeff proposed to her. She may or may not have said, “YES!"

The album's available online at, and after Jeff spends January playing in Texas, he'll have the physical album for sale at shows February 5th at the Bottle Room in Suamico, and February 13th at La Vie Boheme in De Pere.


- Brilliantly written by Matty Day

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