Essential New Music: Scott Hirsch’s “Lost Time Behind The Moon”

Rock ‘n’ roll doesn’t have to be new. An inspired what-if notion might all that it takes to instigate some great music. Take Lost Behind The Moon, the second solo LP by Scott Hirsch. The former producer and bassist for Hiss Golden Messenger is a devoted, deep-roots kind of guy; he could not have brought this record’s loosely funky country-rock to life without closely studying J.J. Cale and his antecedents. But he’s no slave; why be in bondage to one example when you’ve got the skills to put some unlikely elements together?

Opening track “When You Were Old” sounds like a mash-up of Cale and Al Green with a little of Lee Perry’s magic smoke blown on the mixdown tape. And “Spirits” answers the question of what we might have gotten if Lou Reed had headed for Tulsa instead of Long Island when he bolted from the Velvet Underground. Besides liquid guitar licks and just stiff enough drum machine programs, Hirsch has a voice that differentiates him from his inspirations. Guileless and sweet, it’s an apt vehicle for sparely told tales of love and wonder.

—Bill Meyer