BIO: Originally from a small town in southern Indiana, Ted Hoagland took up guitar at the age of 8. He fronted bands in high school, and by the time he moved to Santa Barbara, California in the late 90s, he had discovered a love and talent for writing songs. After a few years of writing and performing exclusively as a solo act, he released Left Field in 2001, bringing an undeniable songwriting voice to the southern California music scene. In 2003, Ted formed The Hoagland Conspiracy, a roots-oriented trio fueled by Ted Hoagland's lyrics and melodies and spanning a range of styles from to 70's funky rock to country to old-time inspired blues. Unlike many singer-songwriter based bands, this combo is not afraid to dig in and jam when the mood strikes, which makes them an immensely satisfying live act. Their CD, "The Hoagland Conspiracy", is also available on CDBaby. LEFT FIELD: Ted Hoagland is the rare songwriter who can combine compelling melodies with insightful, playful lyrics, and make it all seem easy. At home in a range of genres, he employs a broad musical palette to create landscapes for his engaging tales. Ranging from sweet to dirty, the guitar-based music is powered by distinctive blues, rock and folk hooks, backing his versatile baritone voice. Lyrically, the songs combine skillful storytelling and a wry sense of humor in the service of genuine emotion. With his debut album, Left Field, Hoagland establishes himself as a potent musician and writer, and a unique voice of his generation. Despite inhabiting diverse genres, each of Hoagland's songs bears his stylistic imprint. Left Field presents an expansive gallery of musical textures: smoke-filled speakeasy jazz ('Calvary Hill'), electric Chicago-style blues ('Boogie Man'), Nashville-tinged ballad ('Go Easy on Me'), twangy jug-band folk ('Bandaid on a Bruise'), Latin-inflected lounge ('Maria'), talking-blues parable ('God's Will' ), bittersweet dreamy undulating flight ('Shadows on the Sun'), ambling bouncy rock ('Time for to Play'), and tender, personal lullabies ('Clearing' and 'Innocence'). "I try to let each song I'm writing lead me where it needs to go, even if it's into unfamiliar territory. That's when the real fun starts." The eclecticism of the music is balanced by the thematic coherence of Hoagland's lyrics. Hoagland expresses the experiences and observations of a young man disillusioned with the materialism, politics and spiritual vagaries of modern life. While this is hardly new subject matter, he always finds a fresh angle. At a deeper level, most of the songs reflect the pains and pitfalls of the transition from childhood to adulthood. The arrival of adolescent sexuality is given voice in 'Boogie Man'. The frustrations of the 9 to 5 rat race are aired in 'Bandaid on a Bruise' and 'Clearing'. 'God's Will' and 'Calvary Hill' explore the ways that religion is misunderstood and abused. Throughout, a quiet optimism accompanies each difficulty, bearing the possibility of solution and redemption. Hoagland's songs are also leavened by clever and varied humor, ranging from sublime to bawdy. A homeless narrator, upon hearing that God is dead, asks "is there anything for me in God's will?" In 'Calvary Hill,' a character who exploits religion for political and economic gain would like to "send a ham to the little guy who made up hell." And later, when his evil deeds catch up with him, he admits "it's time to pay for my free will." The comical protagonist of 'Boogie Man' tells his newest victim "I ain't no Adonis, I ain't no Romeo, but honey, I've got prowess like them other clowns don't know." Hoagland says, "Humor is a key ingredient to my songs, and the challenge is not to hide behind it. I try to make my songs to more than funny." A gifted storyteller, Hoagland weaves a relaxed narrative arc into each song. Like the melodies, the lyrics are deceptively simple. There is always more than meets the eye in his economical phrases, and the plain business of description and imagery is usually layered with implications and ambiguities.
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