In his debut album, Art Hodges presents a smooth and satisfying display of solo guitar work. Easy Living is a collection of jazz standards deftly tackled by Hodges on acoustic guitar. Mixing elements of jazz, fingerstyle and blues to his selection of tunes, he gives a good, solid solo performance. His playing style remind me of Jerry Krahn, in that he is a master of his instrument and can make it sing these familiar tunes.
His rendition of "Georgia on My Mind" brings those three elements together in a very sweet, bluesy fashion. There are no harsh chord changes that don’t make any sense within the tunes on this album. His playing, even his improvisations are very straightforward, keeping the original tone of the tunes firmly intact. From the toe-tapping "They Can’t Take That Away from Me" to the deeply expressive "God Bless," Hodges kept me listening with his interesting arrangement of each piece. This album was, for me, a winner from track one, "Autumn Leaves," and that held all the way through to the title track and the final track "Art’s Blues." This last piece was a very pleasing and groovy kind of blues piece that left me wanting more at the end. Not because he wasn’t any good, but because he was very good and very talented in his project, and I wanted to hear more.
According to his website, Hodges has performed everything from Bach to Guns-n-Roses and is an avid teacher of guitar to students of all ages. His many years of learning to master his instrument have given us an album that can appeal to a diverse group of music listening fans.