Like the man himself, Hugh Trimble’s newest single, “Danglin” shines with unbridled enthusiasm and bright-eyed, intelligent earnestness. Trimble is, first and foremost, a storyteller. Whether on stage cradling his guitar, or at his usual post, holding court at Muchmore’s, he has a penchant of speaking in your ear, as if only to you. And you should know enough to listen, for his brand of narrative lyricism, coupled with a musical instinct far beyond his years, make Hugh a powerful and benevolent force on the New York scene.
“Danglin” begins as a straightforward folk song, a retelling of the Garden story from the perspective of an Adam an Eve freshly awakened to desire, love, sex and the essence of their humanity. About a minute in, the song picks up to a trot and Trimble’s acoustic guitar and singing, equal parts drawl and finesse, are joined by rollicking drums and euphoric clarinet phrases, giving the song a twist of New Orleans swing. Though the song recounts a Genesis story usually characterized as humankind’s first fall, Trimble’s verses are painted in triumphant hues. The song is unapologetic of human nature (“we’re not ashamed of, how you made us/ just how we were born”), imperfect to be sure, but instead celebrates our infinite ability for wonder. It is a celebration of our capacity for curiosity, which often leads to transgression, but also to the joy of discovery.
The single was recorded in part in front of a studio audience, a session I was lucky enough to be witness to. Within the dimly lit walls of Mama Coco’s Funky Kitchen, Trimble, appropriately surrounded by friends and family, taped the acoustic skeleton of what would become Danglin’. I say appropriately because Hugh’s is a conversational art, as much a product of a back and forth as his keen observations, but also because it did feel like all of us in that studio witnessed something of a revelation, and if it gets us kicked out of the garden, well, “at least we’re not alone.”