“Everything I’ve ever written has been on acoustic guitar or piano, and this time around they followed me into the studio.”
Hines is known more for crunchy guitars, big drums and even bigger vocals but Letters To Maria finds him stripping it down a bit to reveal the vulnerability of the songs themselves. Pianos dance in a cloudy mist, cellos suggest melodies not sung, acoustic guitars shimmer and electric ones shake when necessary. It starts with the loudest song on the album and closes with the quietest, investing a pop sensibility into the mix of romantic abandon and personal redemption. Little Tin Cup evokes the spirit of Dan Fogelberg, On Fire sports a fine guitar solo a la Dicky Betts and Let’s Not Waste Time is a catchy little pop song, period. Lyrics like “I just want to be the man you want, to dispel those ghosts of yours that haunt.” from In The End and “Writing our names in the stars, constellations like cars pass us by in our sea of dreams” from The Tenth Letter betray a melancholy undercurrent that comes from knowing just how fragile and precious love is.
“Y’know, I’ve run the race, from high school gymnasiums to outdoor amphitheaters and back again and I got pretty lost there for quite awhile and an old and dear friend saved my life. And in the end I married her and the amazing thing to me now, in the autumn of my years, is that the joy of discovery in music and life never goes away. It’s a beautiful thing.”