Episode 170: AJ Hobbs
Air date: 11.2.2016
Musician AJ Hobbs plays a sort of neo-traditionalist country music that reflects his origins in the desert east of Los Angeles. Hobbs’ childhood home in Riverside County, California was a dusty, backroad tumbleweed junction long before the area grew up to be knows as Southern California’s conservative ‘Inland Empire’ - an area which seemed a world away from the more laid-back coastal towns just over the western horizon. Hobbs learned firsthand just how disparate the two towns were when his mother packed up the family - sans dad - and moved to Orange County near the ocean. Hobbs didn’t fit in with the surfer crowd, and he found solace in a couple of habits picked up from his wayward, hard-drinking father. The first of these inherited traits was music; after hearing country icons like Waylon, Willie, old school R&B and gospel at home, Hobbs picked up the guitar and began to write songs. But along with this musical inspiration came his father’s penchant for drinking and other associated bad behavior. Hobbs worked hard to earn success in the music industry, but addiction helped his self-destructive demons grow along with his reputation as a stalwart performer. Perhaps miraculously, Hobbs didn’t wind up in jail or dead before he managed to get the wheels back on the track. As he prepares to release his debut full-length album in early 2017, his band is as hot as ever and Hobbs is poised to live up to his honky-tonk potential.