Though her father is a well-known local bluesman, Claire Hinkle, now 20, is certainly her own woman. With her own sound. Papa James Hinkle should be proud.
“When people ask what kind of music I write, I say ‘rockish,’ ” Claire Hinkle said. “I would like to consider myself as a professional musician. I’d like to say that I’m getting there.”
The multi-instrumentalist with the soulful voice certainly is, especially after spinning her new tracks.
Recorded earlier this year at Niles City Sound (Leon Bridges, White Denim) with producer Joel Raif and with backing by the recently defunct Polydogs, “Empty Vessel” and “Work for Hire” are groovy, rootsy rockers. Taken together, they form a kind of snapshot of Hinkle’s musical career, which started in earnest about five years ago. The breakup song “Work for Hire” was written shortly after her 2017 debut album, Let It Out, and “Empty Vessel” dates from last year, when she was anticipating college life. Family, friends, and fans have pitched in to her recording fund.
However she manages to get ’er done, Hinkle said she’s not going for any specific style or sound, one genre in particular.
“I don’t want anything to be mistaken for blues or anything my dad is doing,” she said. “I love my dad, but I’m not the same musician.”
As the former Polydogs, Matt Tedder played lead guitar on the tracks with Kris Luther on bass, Matt Mabe on drums, and Nick Tittle on backing vocals.
“It’s always good to see a song finished,” Hinkle said, “but, honestly, writing for me mostly happens when something terrible happens, like when shit hits the fan. So, yeah, the typical stuff, breakups.”
“Empty Vessel” is a breakup song of a different sort.
“I had moved halfway across the country to New York and didn’t know anyone,” Hinkle recalled, “and I asked some guy on the street for a cigarette, and he told me no and got rude with me, and I was like, ‘Damn, these people are full of themselves out here,’ and I wrote my angsty song about fake people.”
The songs were mastered by Grammy winner Jordan Richardson (Son of Stan) and are out on Spotify now.