Larry Hirshberg tells supple stories in the limited spaces allotted by songs just a few minutes long. While not every line drips with the promise of platinum sales, his solo acoustic effort Ice at Home features some genuine gems.
The title track scores with wordplay centered on an engagement ring left behind. The chorus begins “His baby left the ice at home / Maybe the boys will think she’s all alone”—just enough information to put an image in listeners’ heads and enough indirection to make it interesting, all laid out to a memorable melody. The song stays on the folksy side of an album that blends in considerable blues such as the saloon-style “Calendar Blues,” an uplifting tune about the rhetoric and reality of love.
Hirshberg’s skill with the guitar is considerable, such as on the bridges of “209.1 FM” and “Ways to Say Good-bye,” but his instrumental virtuosity sometimes leads him onto compositional terrain his voice can’t quite hack—high-pitched passages that aren’t painful, just awkward. Barring these, Ice at Home is an accomplished album by a local with enough talent to grab his neighbors’ attentions. (Jason Wiener)
Larry Hirshberg plays CD-release parties for Ice at Home Thursday, April 5, at 6 PM at Bitterroot Brewery in Hamilton and Friday, April 6, at Liquid Planet, 223 N. Higgins Ave. 7:30 PM. Free.