Critic's Choice

Local indie rockers doing the solo-acoustic thing are a dime a dozen right now. Good or bad, most of them tend to blur together into a blob of wistful strums and sad-sack sensitivity. Aaron Hobbs, aka Hobbs NM, doesn't really stray far from that equation. But where too many singer/songwriter types think pained expressions and flowery fretwork are enough to carry an unaccompanied performance, Hobbs knows that it's all in the pipes. Instead of vacuous, singsong whining, his voice scratches and echoes with deep pockets of rawness and shadow -- not to mention an entire lifetime of fuckups, longing and emotional contusions. And he's earned every one: As the front man of seminal local acts Small Dog Frenzy and Acrobat Down, the vocalist and guitarist has fought tooth and nail in this scene for the last fourteen years, building a devoted following out of sheer, openhearted sincerity and a fat catalogue of great tunes. Hobbs recently finished an impressive eight-song recording with Jme White -- his former Acrobat Down bandmate and current member of Blusom -- which has yet to see the light of day. Until it does, you'll just have to grab every opportunity to witness him live -- for instance, this Saturday, September 11, at the Larimer Lounge, with Matson Jones and Porlolo. And although Hobbs hasn't ruled out the possibility of playing in a band again, there's something about the whole idea of a lone dude playing pensive guitar that fits him just fine.


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