Portland-based troubadour Tobias Berblinger presents the vinyl reissue of his 2018 album The Luckiest Hippie Alive, releasing on October 6th, 2022 via Ten Dollar Recording Co.. Berblinger will play a release show that same day, at the Laurelthirst Public House in Portland. The vinyl is on sale through the label's website and Bandcamp.
The Luckiest Hippie Alive delivers a comforting range of country and folk nostalgia, recalling the likes of Gram Parsons, Townes Van Zandt, and Blaze Foley. Opener “My Boots Have Been Drinking” entrances with hazy pedal steel and a swooning vocal duet, setting the album in motion with a sunset-friendly allure.
Twangy, heartfelt introspection and a suave cosmic country drive persist throughout the release. Further energy is conveyed on breezy rock/folk infusions like “Blade of Grass” and the title track, which exudes a playful duet emitting themes of perseverance: “When I’m falling off my horse, there’s another one to carry me.”
In addition to his work as a solo artist, Berblinger plays with other Portland-based artists, performing bass for apocalyptic folk band Roselit Bone and keyboards for singer/songwriter Kassi Valazza. He is also an engineer at Singing Sands Recording Studio, and performs as a live DJ throughout Portland, hosting genre-themed nights such as "Dark Mansion of Forbidden Love," "Death Trip," "Black Acid," and more. Additionally, Berblinger is a professional graphic designer and illustrator.
Read more about the album, below:
Written by Reed Burnham
While it’s a little less popularly known than the rock ‘n’ roll and pop arcs of the same period, country music in the 1960s and 1970s also had its own counter-cultural flowering as influential voices within the genre rejected the Nashville country elites, cross-pollinated with West Coast psychedelia, and re-embraced the weird, old, melancholic strain of Americana that’s been present in all music of the North American continent for centuries.
Tobias Berblinger’s The Luckiest Hippie Alive makes deft use of a host of lesser known yet long appreciated country and folk influences that have remained on the tongue of many a critic and tastemaker for some decades now, as the mainstream country music machine continues to churn out bland, soulless schlock readymade for truck stop shitters all across the nation. Culling together some hook-laden songcraft with a strong nod to many of Berblinger's obvious influences, including outlaw and cosmic country luminaries such as Gram Parsons, Blaze Foley, and Townes Van Zandt, et al, The Luckiest Hippie Alive is a strong record that’s memorable and often hilarious, wearing its influences on its sleeve while still managing to fully hit its own stride.
For the sake of the song of course, Berblinger cranks out solid original tunes such as the smoky pedal steel ballad "My Boots Have Been Drinking", folk weirdness of "Blade of Grass" and "It Ain't Right", and sing-along barroom anthems "Divisions" and "Heartaches, Hard Times, Hard Drinking". To round out the track listing, Berblinger employs a number of cover tunes, including a heartfelt cover of the late, great Blaze Foley's “Crawl Back to You“, paying tribute to the doomed Austin songster's signature fingerpicking style reminiscent of country blues icons such as Mississippi John Hurt.
Sealing the deal, the addition of Commander Cody's “Seeds and Stems (Again)” makes sure to fully honor some of the more tongue-in-cheek trappings of country music storytelling, with the protagonist managing to lose his dog, his house, his girl, and his weed all in the same song. Berblinger doles out much of the same light-hearted yet grounded world-weariness throughout The Luckiest Hippie Alive, and in all the record is an affectionate testament to strong songwriting, a fertile period in American music, and the perennial highway blues.