Jorma Kaukonen and John Hurlbut Release Third Album, One More Lifetime

Article Contributed by David Atchley | Published on Saturday, June 8, 2024

With the release of their third album, One More Lifetime, there is no doubt that Jorma Kaukonen and John Hurlbut are hitting their stride. And to be honest, the proper review of this album is, “Kick back in the sweet spot of sound, close your eyes, and take the ride. This album speaks for itself.” Hell, it’s Jorma on an acoustic, need I say more? Yes! Because one cannot take this journey without thoughts arising, memories being had, and emotions felt. The unmistakable sound of experience is all pervasive. John’s voice and Jorma’s guitar not only bring you into the lyrics, but into the space from which the lyrics arise... One of the unmistakable qualities of this album is its genuineness, its authenticity, its simple yet profound depth. As John Hurlbut recently told Grateful Web, “Our thing here is in the interpretation we do. We take the song and make it our own.” And make them their own they do.

John Hurlbut and Jorma Kaukonen | Fur Peace Ranch

With such classics as Bob Dylan’s, I’ll Remember You, Peter Rowan’s, Angel Island, Harry Nilsson’s, Everybody’s Talkin’, and Woody Guthrie’s, Pastures of Plenty, John Hurlbut easily holds his own with two originals, A Day in the Country and Lazy Saint, showcasing his talent as a song writer as well as a musician. Finishing Lazy Saint just days before recording, John expressed his exuberance, “I realize what a magical time this is for me—what a blessing this is. So I’m giving it my all, and it feels good,” as is evident by his lyrics, “Eyes grow old, eyes grow weak, a grateful heart stays strong.” And boy, does Jorma know how to sink home the depth and meaning of the words sung.

While it would be easy to go into each song and discuss the beauties that lay therein, I was moved more by the whole of the album. Each song had a way of drawing me in, leaving me with this wonderful sense of depth, of the moment expressed, a feeling that by the end had me open to the world and shaking my head, with the words lingering, “Damn, that was a really good tune.” Each song is like it’s own little journey, one that can be taken over and over again as there’s always some new little thing to be discovered, to be felt. Music is, quite simply, the reflection of the infinite little happenings that bring the moment about, be it the moment that gave rise to the song, or the moment in which the song is being played. And when it comes to One More Lifetime, the richness of happenings are prevalent in each note played and lyric felt, bringing the listener right into the story of the song. Speaking of Angel Island, John said of Jorma, “This served as a great vehicle for his guitar playing. The idea of One More Lifetime comes from the chorus of this song. Jorma’s playing is so emotional, so there with the song, you can really feel the story.”

One of the unmistakeable qualities of this album is it’s genuineness, it’s authenticity, it’s simple yet profound depth. Just two friends sitting before some microphones playing guitar. And this comes across beautifully, for I felt as if Jorma and John had just picked up a couple of guitars laying about my living room and began to play. Imagine. For those of us that have been around musicians a lot throughout our lives we easily recognize the difference in practiced, rehearsed playing for a performance, as opposed to two people just sitting around a campfire exploring the musical forest together. And while they both have their beauties, this type of improvisation and spontaneity is extremely difficult to capture, but when it is, it’s a marvel to behold. As John said of Jorma, “Every time he plays a song it’s different. But I remember when we did Angel Island, I said, ‘You know, we caught a really good one.’ It’s always good, but sometimes it’s just magical.” And that’s all any of us can ever hope.

“When the secrets all are told and the petals all unfold.”