Highways, Gamblers, Devils & Dreams


Published 2023-08-10 06:00

“Highways, Gamblers, Devils & Dreams" is a sprawling meditation on mythic American themes. Hank
is a troubadour of the old school, warm hearted and precise.” ~ Anaïs Mitchell

After a 7 year hiatus from recording, Hank Woji set out in late August 2021, with a full tank of gas and a vision of what this record might be, and then spent the next year and a half, crisscrossing the country, recording in 15 different studios, while chasing down his essential song list, which became a story sequenced 23 track double album. Along the way he called on some old and new friends to help out. The release stretches the boundaries of folk and americana with intensely personal observations and reflections on our life and times. Along with the multiple themes of the album’s title, interwoven with life, death, love, hope and redemption, Hank has created a panoramic landscape which lyrically and sonically captures the depth and breadth of our collective American experience over the past 8 years, while addressing the seismic shifts in our culture, politics and our deeply wounded psyche.

Sometimes humorous, sometimes poignant, sometimes critical and cutting straight to the chase, these 18 original compositions, including 3 co-writes, are teamed up with covers by Woody Guthrie, Bruce Springsteen, Jimmy Cliff and Townes Van Zandt to take the listener on a genre bending musical odyssey along the highways and back roads and sometimes down the dead end streets of our uniquely American journey.

The album opens with “Don’t Look Back”, a song of redemption and 2nd chances which sets the tone for the rest of the album, followed by “Chasin’ My Headlights Again” echoing those themes of life on the road. From there we jump straight into Woody Guthrie’s classic “I Ain’t Got No Home”, which further explores the nomadic journey of migrant workers. Later on disc 1 we again find tales of travel and migration with Springsteen’s “Land Of Hope And Dreams” and on disc 2, Hank’s “El Soñador (The Dreamer)”, the story of a young Guatemalan boy coming to America.

Continuing through disc 2 our cultural and political divides get a good shake out on “Corporations Are People”, “Can't Happen Here”, and “The Devil's At The Door“ all exploring the dangers of xenophobia, greed and authoritarianism with “Start Building Bridges” and “On Our Way Back Home” bringing a ray of optimism in our troubled times. Closing this 23 track album is an old time gospel tune, “Take Your Burden To The Lord And Leave It There” followed by “Peace Unto You”, a prayer of farewell as our journey comes to an end. On the track card, songs with an ** indicate especially for folk radio, but you’ll find all of what is on the disc possibilities for the wide range of shows.

"Highways, Gamblers, Devils & Dreams", features guest performances from Bill Kirchen (Commander Cody), Joel Guzman (Joe Ely, Paul Simon), David C Johnson (Aaron Neville), Radoslav Lorkovic (Odetta, Shawn Mullins), Tommy LaBella (10,000 Maniacs, Billy Preston), Butch Hancock and Jimmie Dale Gilmore (The Flatlanders) and Jaimee Harris, to name just a few.

Based in Terlingua, TX, since 2009, Hank cut his musical teeth in the super charged Asbury Park, New Jersey rock and roll scene of the early 80's then, later down the road, honed his songwriting skills as a member of the vibrant Houston singer songwriter community which has produced and nurtured the likes of Rodney Crowell, Robert Earl Keen, Hayes Carll, and Townes Van Zandt.

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