For the past six years, J. Thomas Hall has written, recorded and toured with Ponderosa. In the studio, Hall has co-scribed some of that Atlanta-based act’s most immediate songs, such as “Navajo” from last year’sPool Party. On the stage, his steady bass line and pitch-perfect harmonies often tether the wandering parts of Ponderosa’s psychedelic dynamic. Wherever he goes, Hall carries himself like a seasoned veteran, because that’s exactly what he is. He’s operated in and around the Atlanta rock ‘n’ roll stratosphere for the entirety of his adult life.
It’s no surprise that Hall has solo material in the can. This pair of songs is a nice juxtaposition and a perfect demonstration of his range as a writer. “Heart Ache” is the sort of Willie Nelson story from the road that country music needs more of these days. It’s a poignant tune that could have been recorded in the musky backseat of the van or the cramped green room of any of the hundreds of clubs Ponderosa has played in over the past three years. “One Day” sees Hall dig into his Atlanta garage scene roots, reminding us not to get sucked into the murky big picture. He’s going to “take [his] chances one day at a time.” Good news: word is that those chances will include the release of further singles, eventually enough for an LP. Here’s looking forward to that.