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All Night Long

South by Southwest Aftershots
Jim Caligiuri, March 22, 2012

Hobart Brothers with Lil' Sis Hobart

Continental Club, March 17

They live in separate cities and have separate careers, so their official showcase, the ninth performance of the week they pointed out, might be the last for a while. A supergroup of sorts, the Hobart Brothers with Lil' Sis Hobart are local guitarist-songwriter-raconteur Jon Dee Graham, cult favorite Freedy Johnston, and former teen idol Susan Cowsill. Originally a songwriting exercise about their early days working in restaurants, the front trio took the name Hobart from the brand of dishwasher found in most commercial kitchens. With Andrew Duplantis on bass and Cowsill's husband and drummer Russ Broussard completing the band, the quintet ran through seven songs from its upcoming disc, At Least We Have Each Other. Both "I Never Knew There Would Be You" and "Ballad of Sis (Didn't I Love You)" are intelligent jangle-pop with Graham's guitar solos adding a virulent kick to the rough harmonies. Not all the songs concern restaurants; Johnston's ode to a prostitute, "Sweet Senorita," was characteristically melancholy. Album centerpiece "First Day on the Job" meandered live, more likely due to its nearly spoken-word nature getting swallowed in the club's party atmosphere. Another Graham guitar explosion recaptured the crowd's attention, ending the show with a deserved wow.