Having walked away from a pro baseball career (a pitcher for the Oakland A’s) to pursue music full time, and subsequently releasing a brand new single every 22nd of every month, singer and songwriter Blake Hassebrock has taken the engaging initiative and wound up offering a stunning collection of originals that you can now play through as an album.
Beginning with the beautifully uplifting, energizing folk-pop offering that is Pour It On, immediately we’re gifted with strength of song-writing, soulful and expressive vocals, and pristine production.
There’s a fine balance between melancholy and optimism in the sound, it immerses and hypnotises, and by the latter half the whole thing has more than enough familiarity to connect and grip listeners in this passionate outcry of concept and poetic reference.
These qualities stand tall throughout Blake’s catalogue, though each song walks its own pathway – the building blocks remain, meaning it’s a true pleasure to lose yourself here for a while. Furthermore, with each revisit, the lyrics shine a little more light on the underlying intentions, and thus the music connects all the more memorably.
White Walls leads with rhythmic acoustic guitar and intimate, deeply personal lyrics. Blake sets the scene with ease, the soundscape rising up, adding details and colours as the story and passion progress. Another mighty hook rains down in a wholly entrancing, strangely comforting way – the heartache cries out for both the artist and the listener; seeking to be understood, as well as to understand.
With Summer Sailin’ we get a certain softness, a gentle anthem that slowly but surely weaves its web and implants its hook melody into the audience’s headspace. Then with Father Son Brother there’s suddenly a poignancy and personal aspect reignited – the title and opening lyrics, alongside gentle acoustic finger-picking, intrigue and draw you in from the outset. A definite highlight for its folk purity and the level of vulnerability in the lyrics and delivery.
Heartbeat switches gears again, leading with electric guitar rhythms and a sort of Jack Johnson-esque vocal pace and lyrical vagueness that’s just intimate enough to connect. Beautifully crafted, and followed up gorgeously by Lowdown, which feels almost like a sequel – yet with a heart-breaking core and some beautifully artistic sound-play.
Rich is another highlight, relatable and again walking that line between optimistic and uncertain, even sad. This Is Us follows on beautifully, a passionate way to end the current collection, with an explosive hook that proves instantly addictive in its repetition and longing.
Undoubtedly a song-writer at the top of his game, with powerful vocals when necessary but delicacy and subtlety when required. Blake was also a top three finalist in the 2019 John Lennon Song-writing Contest, and his music is largely a tribute to his father – a life-long musician who sadly passed away during Blake’s younger years.
Stunning production, organic set-ups that beg for you to witness the whole thing in a live setting – Blake Hassebrock contends well within the singer-songwriter realm, and these releases speak volumes on behalf of his passion and dedication as an artist.