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Jonathan Hoffman

Member sinceMarch 28, 2006
LocationPortland, Oregon
MembersTerry Robb, Doug Smith--guitar; Gary Landsberg--bass & percussion
InfluencesJames Taylor, Tom Paxton, John Prine
Artist Biography:
Jonathan Hoffman began performing acoustic music while still attending junior high in Eugene, Oregon in 1960. The vice-principal caught him singing a Tom Lehrer song (Be Prepared) at the Eighth Grade school dance, dragged him into the office, called his mother, and expressed deep concern about his future. Students again invited Hoffman to sing at the school dance the following year, at the inception of the dreaded "Hootenanny Era." Taking no chances this time, the vice-principal made him stand in the hall and recite the lyrics of the song he planned to sing (all 28 verses of the unabridged version of Michael, Row the Boat Ashore), before permitting him to return to the stage.

Hoffman continued his music throughout high school and college, singing at many coffeehouses throughout the Boston-Cambridge area in the late 1960's. He was a regular performer at the Nameless Coffeehouse in Harvard Square and appears on the first two albums of The Best of the Nameless Coffeehouse. A significant number of coffeehouses throughout the Boston metropolitan area and, later, the rest of the country, closed their doors shortly after Hoffman performed in them. During his college years, his screen career began and ended with his appearance in The Way West (1967), starring Kirk Douglas, Robert Mitchum, Richard Widmark, and Sally Field--a movie which one critic perceptively described as, "The worst movie of this--or any other--season."

In 1971, his hit single, The Talking Eugene Cross, electrified several fans throughout the upper Willamette Valley and sold literally tens of copies throughout the greater Eugene metropolitan area. Some have credited this song for the City's decision to remove the neon cross from public property just short of two decades later. Hoffman's quest for commercial stardom ended the same year he released his hit single--1971--after a Los Angeles record producer determined that Hoffman's repertoire bore absolutely no resemblance to Sugar, Sugar.

Hoffman continues to write music in relative obscurity. In other words, most of his material remains obscure even to his relatives. Most of his newest material captures the warp, the woof, the yin, the yang and the clang of decrepit baby boomers and their detritus. He has recorded three CD's, with slick guitar fingerpicking, wry 'n sly lyrics, about family, friends, politics, sports, dogs, and everything else.

Jonathan Hoffman now lives in Portland, Oregon, with his wife Susan and their dogs, Watson and Cricket. His four children have grown up and moved on, but Cricket remains somewhat fond of several of Hoffman's songs.

More by Jonathan Hoffman:

Blue Yellow Lab
Heartbreak Hotel
I'm a Man
My Puppyhood
The Sox Finally Win the Series, ver. 86.0
Veterinary Rhythm & Blues

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