CROSSING THE LINE:
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put it out there for everyone to hear?” On meeting Young in Columbus, Hisle says, “I was really nervous. I walk in the door, and he just gives me this scowl. Neil said, ‘I heard you got this song.’ He fucking listens to the whole song with headphones on and just mad dogs me. Then he takes them off and goes, ‘Let’s jam it, dude.’” Hisle grins and says, “He was cool as shit.” Hisle was on stage for the first half of the show. In January 2008, Hisle played The Sundance Film Festival with Graham Nash and Young. What did the troops think? “I got some jabs about being a hippie,” Hisle says. “Whatever. They still love me, and they’re all proud of me.” From others, though, he says, “I get some pretty low blows — treason, blah, blah, but that’s someone’s opinion. I keep crossing the line with lyrics. I get shit for it.
I don’t care. That trauma could change a person’s life.” After performing at several film releases, Lost in Holland was booked for an upcoming California show with Young and ZZ Top. Despite the rising success, Hisle shrugs, admitting, “I was wondering when they were going to cut me loose and say, ‘Thanks for your help on the film, that’s a hell of a start,’ but they don’t stop calling.”
Recently, Young’s label, Vapor Records, announced that they’ll distribute Lost in Holland’s albums. The new one, The Last Great Loss, is in the recording stages.
Attacking loss and trauma, last year’s Hearts and Minds is straight-shooting and natural; Hisle’s voice leaves the throat with a slight Springsteen rasp. Hisle can be quiet and he can punch it out, but it’s not claiming to be perfectly slick. Rather, he sounds instinctively gritty with frequent turns from emotionally strong to subtly reflective. Particularly moving, “Purple Hearts” mixes quiet vocals with an ironically raging message: “A box to fill a grave/And statues for the ones we could’ve saved.” Calling for a peaceful return from aching lands, Hisle’s softer delivery meets hard-hitting lyrics, drilling his message to heart.
And his message? Hisle’s brows knit together, newly alive. He responds, “No matter what the fucking reason for this fight, it’s going to result in pain, loss, death of thousands. It’s horrible. I don’t wish it upon anyone else. I know these things, I’ve done these things, I’ve seen these things. Let me tell you about it so you can reflect and relate and maybe learn something. If I were to change one person’s mind, I’d feel like it was all worth it.” For the next two years, he could be called back to war at any moment. But he says he’s not worried. Suddenly, his shadowy eyes become fully visible, free from the dark camouflage. Sitting back in his new black chair, lost and found in the new sound room, it’s clear that Hisle is truly at home. ©