Hard Times & Deadlines – Armchair Boogie

Wisdom sometimes reveals itself in unexpected places. Take for example, the band Armchair Boogie. While the name may not necessarily hint at any overt intelligence, their new album, Hard Times & Deadlines, boasts songs that clearly convey a knowing perspective. At times, their words of wisdom come across as somewhat matter of fact, particularly as far as the simple philosophies shared in songs such as You’ve Been Hurt, Livin’, Empty Pools, and All the Same. Nevertheless, the album clearly qualifies them as a band not only with an infectious sound but also an ample supply of wit and wisdom to go along with it. 

The band sums up their sentiments on the song, Liquor Store, while taking a fond look back at a time when life was far simpler and easier to understand. So too, it more or less encapsulate a continuing theme. The carefree existence that once was, is replaced by tough choices and the hard realities of life in adulthood. Likewise, Gone In A Day reflects the hopeless feelings that can quickly take hold when dreams and desire give way to disappointment and despair.

Livin’ offers another view from that personal perspective by asking the question, “What’s the good in living, if the living isn’t good?” The answer —more a cry for help actually — comes in the similarly prophetic, Low Down Time. “It’s been a low down time, And things been out of line. And I just need some help getting by. Won’t you help me stay alive?”

Indeed, these songs pose questions that beg a response.

The album title is a hint of what’s contained therein, but the drive and determination that runs through each of these songs emphasizes the fact that those involved aren’t quite ready to let those obstacles that get in their way. The band — Augie Dougherty (vocals, banjo, harmonica), Ben Majeska (vocals, acoustic and electric guitar), Eli Frieders (electric bass, backing vocals) and Denzel Connor (drums, percussion, occasional vocals) — are at times augmented by special guests — Jeremy Garrett of Infamous Stringdusters and Ernest Brusabardis on fiddles, and various horn players as well — adding to the energy and exuberance that often manages to moot the more forlorn feelings

On Boneyard, Dougherty sings, ‘”There’s nothing wrong with me, I’m trying to be, the man I thought I was,” offering clear indication that there is, in fact, hope on the horizon. It’s that clear-eyed perspective that allows Armchair Boogie to boogie through their bluegrass so assuredly. 

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About the Author

Lee Zimmerman

Lee Zimmerman has been a writer and reviewer for the better part of the past 20 years. He writes for the following publications — No Depression, Goldmine, Country Standard TIme, Paste, Relix, Lincoln Center Spotlight, Fader, and Glide. A lifelong music obsessive and avid collector, he firmly believes that music provides the soundtrack for our lives and his reverence for the artists, performers and creative mind that go into creating their craft spurs his inspiration and motivation for every word hie writes.