Album Review – Bobby Dove’s “Hopeless Romantic”
Get ready to rearrange the hierarchy of your Canadian country music depth charts. Hell, get ready shake it up in the lower 48 and everywhere else as well, because Bobby Dove has just released a record that will have you crying and moaning along with some of the best classic country music composed in new original songs that’s come down the pike in quite a while.
I’m not sure if Hank Williams or Hank Snow kept a mistress in Montreal or Manitoba maybe we didn’t hear about and passed some genes down, or what has possessed Bobby Dove to become like a vessel or channeler for all the great classic country music influences we so sorely miss. But this is some of the most authentically-rendered and true-to-inspiration country music you can root out, while still holding onto enough originality to hit your ears with a welcomed freshness.
The simplicity of some of the writing, and the straightforward approach of the music may have you worried at first if this new album Hopeless Romantic is meaty enough to hold your attention after a few initial spins. But it’s that same simplicity that is the genius behind the effort. It pushes all the extra stuff aside to focus on a mood, a message, and a melody. It’s the “3 chords and the truth” mantra incarnate.
Bobby Dove then assembles some of the best pickers in Canada, and puts them to work on songs directly inspired by the Golden era of country. You’re only able to pull off this kind of country record with the right pickers who are studious as you about the modes and tones to put the mood of the music in the proper context. The way the steel guitar licks are spot on and reminiscent of Hank and Lefty, and the piano comes fluttering in and out like Patsy Cline, it gives you shivers.
Meanwhile Bobby’s vocal delivery is effortless, even if perhaps a bit nondescript. But nothing is forced or embellished here, and there’s a beauty in the dryness employed that conveys the lonesome pain of the lyrics deftly. Bobby Dove sings it, and you believe and feel it.
Dove even has the audacity to include a song in “El Hormiguero” completely recited in Spanish. Much more favorable than the average Spanish-tinged country track where somebody’s buddy has an accordion and they spring for a horn section in the studio, Bobby brings out the beauty of the Spanish language in country music, and goes deeper than simply braying the word “cerveza” into sloppy Spanglish verses.
You can talk about how it’s the simplicity of country music that lends to its beauty, or you can illustrate it like Bobby Dove has done with Hopeless Romantic. “Chance in Hell” with fellow Canadian country artist Jim Cuddy, “My World’s Getting Smaller,” and the final song “New Ends, New Beginnings” are just about some of the best tear jerking examples of classic country music you can find, while “Gas Station Blues” gives this record some needed growl and energy. Add the acoustic “Golden Years,” and this album offers a good variety, while still remaining fastly within the classic country realm.
Also hats off to notable Canadian country musicians such as David Baxter on lead guitar, Jimmy Bowskill on fiddle, Burke Carroll on pedal steel, Steve O’Connor on piano, and everyone else for interpreting this music so true.
Purchase on Bandcamp
February 23, 2021 @ 9:30 am
Hey, just letting you know that Bobby uses they/them pronouns
February 23, 2021 @ 9:36 am
February 23, 2021 @ 11:14 am
What’s upset you scott?
February 23, 2021 @ 11:43 am
Oh brother is right
February 23, 2021 @ 11:51 am
Bobby Dove is a great country singer and songwriter who is part of our country music community, and is doing more than most to preserve and pay forward the important legacy of country music. We should all be proud to have Bobby Dove towing at the same yoke as the rest of us to help save country music, and I expect everyone to show Bobby respect.
February 23, 2021 @ 12:23 pm
I see nothing but respect for her in the review and the comments. I believe “Oh brother” refers to the woke police, not her, hijacking the comments to demand grammatical changes to the English language to promote a political agenda.
We’re here for the music and appreciate your review. Whether she demands people speak certain ways about her or not is irrelevant. This album sounds great, your review is well written, and thank you for bringing attention to real country music as always.
February 23, 2021 @ 1:37 pm
Fair enough. I just wanted to make sure everyone was on the same page here.
February 23, 2021 @ 12:30 pm
Unless he made edits, there’s nothing to change anyway. There aren’t any pronouns used.
February 23, 2021 @ 2:25 pm
There’s no woke police here; there was a mistake in the original article using she/her pronouns to refer to Bobby. No harm done obviously – it was changed, and it’s understandable if previously they were using different pronouns. There’s literally nothing political about using someone’s correct pronouns. It’s way more political to intentionally use incorrect pronouns for an artist if they’ve stated their preferred ones. Snowflakes going mad right now over typing the word “they”. Totally bizarre stuff
February 23, 2021 @ 2:41 pm
I was really hoping to avoid this discussion and simply focus on the music. When I wrote this review, I purposely didn’t use any pronouns. I made a quick edit this morning right before I posted the review, and a pronoun slipped in there. As soon as I was alerted to it, I changed it.
February 23, 2021 @ 2:53 pm
Much respect to you Trigger but you might have avoided it by actually using the artists preferred pronouns as opposed to avoiding them altogether – you wouldn’t have avoided them if the artist used he or she pronouns – so by not using them you are implicitly saying they are less valid, and inviting debate about the artists identity as opposed to just respecting them and focusing on the music. By avoiding using pronouns, you are starting the discussion yourself.
February 23, 2021 @ 2:57 pm
you’re insufferable G
February 23, 2021 @ 3:36 pm
There’s no pronouns in Bobby Dove’s Bio. https://bobbydove.com/bio/
And according to Wikipedia “In linguistics and grammar, a pronoun is a word that substitutes for a noun or noun phrase.”
Using pronouns in writing is just to save time anyway so how is it less respectful to just use someone’s name instead?!
February 23, 2021 @ 4:15 pm
And if you look at other articles by Trigger people’s names are used just as much as pronouns. Writer’s refer to people by their name first and then use pronouns when it’s clear who they are talking about – so what’s wrong with just continuing to use someone’s name? How is it any different? I don’t think it’s disrespectful in fact I think it’s more respectful as using pronouns is quite informal anyway!
February 24, 2021 @ 12:19 am
I don’t know just the artists name. I find I RARELY use pronouns in conversation anymore because I tired of walking on eggshells.
(Me and) Paul
February 23, 2021 @ 10:45 am
Not really sure why it matters if they make good country music.
February 23, 2021 @ 11:16 am
Just go with Bobby that sidesteps all the landmines.
February 23, 2021 @ 1:06 pm
February 23, 2021 @ 5:23 pm
Well shitfire, someone (many someones) needs to study basic biology and English
February 23, 2021 @ 5:30 pm
G, with all due respect, who cares?
February 23, 2021 @ 8:33 pm
Cool story, bro.
Basic biology doesn’t care. Nor do I.
February 25, 2021 @ 7:45 am
G, I’m as liberal as they come and completely support whatever Pronouns people want to use but trying to say Trig did anything wrong in this article is just pure virtue signaling.
Trigger is promoting an amazing artist that many here, including myself, wouldnt have heard about otherwise while also being very conscious of preferred gender identity when writing the article. And most of Bobby Dove’s own material written about them uses their name instead of pronouns as well.
And honestly, it makes it just way easier to read. Articles about non-binary individuals that go too heavy on the they/them pronouns are unfortunately just clunky to read and distract from the actual material. As opposed to using their proper name, where I was able to focus completely on the person themselves and the music they are creating.
February 23, 2021 @ 10:10 am
His voice reminds me a little bit of Matt Hillyer.
February 23, 2021 @ 10:26 am
February 23, 2021 @ 10:38 am
Oh right just seen G’s comment. Bobby is referred to as she/her on their youtube videos from a few years ago – maybe they go by they/them pronouns now but I’m not on social media so I don’t know!
February 23, 2021 @ 3:28 pm
February 24, 2021 @ 10:35 am
Reminds me a lot of Laura Cantrell
February 23, 2021 @ 10:14 am
Reminds me of Daniel Romano’s country style music, another Canadian.
February 23, 2021 @ 10:19 am
Love the raunchy guitar licks in Gas Station Blues.
Broke, Thin, and Dirty
February 23, 2021 @ 11:01 am
Wow, loving this album!! Thanks for the review Trig.
February 23, 2021 @ 12:20 pm
Great review.. Focus on the music people
February 23, 2021 @ 12:25 pm
Go on with your bad self Bobby.
Love your band!
February 24, 2021 @ 3:08 pm
Thank you <3 BD
February 24, 2021 @ 3:30 pm
Tear it up Bobby,
You are Fabulous!
Love your singing, love the band!
February 23, 2021 @ 2:13 pm
Excellent review Trig! Listened to it today and it really is very good. They are the type of artist we need more of in country music…solid!
Mark up another solid country gold artist I discovered by reading SCM!
February 23, 2021 @ 3:19 pm
Great voice and great album!
February 23, 2021 @ 4:08 pm
Love the music. I’d like to say that first. The vocals caught me off guard so I scanned the story again. I was confused, so I read the comments. I’m still confused. Guess I’m too old to figure this shit out. Thanks for the review. I’ll check the album out.
February 23, 2021 @ 6:59 pm
Both Hanks pulled a lot of Canadian leg in their time.
February 24, 2021 @ 11:07 am
I don’t care about pronouns. This is wonderful stuff, and I really appreciate you turnin me on to it!!
February 24, 2021 @ 2:41 pm
I like the music above well enough, though I want to comment on the Jim Cuddy reference. Jim was one of the two leaders of Blue Rodeo, which is one of the great Canadian bands of all time. Their output in the late 80’s and early to mid 90’s was as strong as any band out there. They were inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 2012. Not straight country, but rootsy, Americana and alt-country.
February 24, 2021 @ 3:13 pm
This is an incredible review I am so grateful.
Thanks Trigger. It’s complicated with the pronouns I know. I don’t use them in my bio. It’s new and it’s hard to explain to folks who aren’t in my boots. I appreciate the kind words and promise Y’ALL I am not easily offended in the least. Biology is just a subject I skipped in highschool. Don’t call me late for supper and relax your audible eye rolls cause it really is about the music. So much love and gratitude,
March 1, 2021 @ 6:06 am
Great album Bobby
February 24, 2021 @ 7:05 pm
Yay Bobby Dove! So proud of you! You made a great record, love you! Xoxo
February 24, 2021 @ 8:09 pm
hey jack- did someone demand something of you? Anything at all? What is this invisible agenda you’re referring to have to do with any of what was written here? Did the artist demand something of you, like you say? You made this political- knock that bullshit off.
After a lot of research online- (why is it so damn hard to find out who played in an album?) Looks like it’s Burke Carroll on steel- beautiful classic stuff.
February 25, 2021 @ 2:27 pm
Calm down. You misunderstood and missed my point. We all agree that the focus should be on the music, not pronouns, so let’s keep it there.
This album kicks ass and I’m glad we can all enjoy a solid contribution to country music together.
February 25, 2021 @ 5:47 pm
Cool as a cucumber girlfriend- perhaps I did misconstrue your characterization of ‘oh brother’. Maybe you were explaining someone else’s ignorant/politicized views? Benefit of the doubt goes to you.
February 25, 2021 @ 6:11 pm
Good to hear, thank you for giving me the benefit of the doubt and focusing on the music
February 24, 2021 @ 10:52 pm
Well done Bobby!!!! Proud of you for putting the work in ❤️ It paid off 🙂
February 25, 2021 @ 1:49 am
Thanks for this – can’t wait to listen. A music magazine in the UK (Q magazine) has two notes at the end of each review: “Key tracks to listen to” and “Listen if you like… e.g. Hank, Dolly, Charley etc” – would be great if you’d consider adding these to your reviews. Keep up the great work.
February 25, 2021 @ 7:41 am
This album is great! The vocals do these great songs justice and the arrangements/composition is damn near perfect.
February 25, 2021 @ 1:40 pm
As they said Trigger good review and better music.
Problem with bandcamp is you spend more money there than perhaps you really should. But still you cant take it with you.
February 25, 2021 @ 3:05 pm
Bit slow and traditional for my liking, but I thought it was a good album from a talented songwriter.
Sounds like early George Jones meets Ryan Adams.
February 25, 2021 @ 5:50 pm
Really good stuff here. Nice work, Bobby Dove! My gosh, I find so much good music through this site, Trig. Appreciate you so much.
March 28, 2021 @ 1:59 pm
The album is incredible. Bobby’s debut album is great as well. I have exchanged numerous messages with Bobby and not once has she ever corrected me for the pronouns I use. Enjoy the music and have a cold beer and a J, some of you need it more than you know. “Gas station blues” is my choice on this album, but they are all great!
Rad Hatter Leather
June 16, 2021 @ 4:30 am
This is killer! Bra’f’n’vo! So good!