Don’t judge John Hull’s CD by its S&M-like title.
  • Don’t judge John Hull’s CD by its S&M-like title.
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“We didn’t win, but looking back at that performance and all the stars that have played on that stage, it’s still pretty exciting,” says John Hull of his band making the Musicpalooza 2009 finals at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. The group also earned a 2008 HAT/Honoring Acoustic Music award nomination. Though, despite constant gigging, it’s easy to overlook a bluesy heart-of-rock-and-roll act amid all the lo-fi surf punks, stuffy jazz journeymen, and comically coiffed rockabilly kings and cowpunk queens.

Hull says it’s been an uphill chug from the start. “One time, I had a solo gig opening for a comedy show and there was an issue with the sound. I played completely acoustic and, eventually, a capella.”

His current band includes some largely unheralded talent: percussionist Jason Ford (who’s played with Carlos Olmeda, Jason Mraz), bassist Sam Johnson (Michael Tiernan, Stepping Feet), and local solo performer Kenny Eng on guitar.

The John Hull Band’s Shades of Gray CD debuts August 25 with a release party in Normal Heights at Lestat’s.

Why that title? “It’s an ode to the old nursery rhyme ‘Ring Around the Rosie’ — ‘ashes, ashes, we all fall down.’ Regardless, I wasn’t exactly excited to hear about some book that made Oprah’s top-book list called Fifty Shades of Grey based on S&M. No, I haven’t read it.”

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