The second Bean Hoy studio album is essentially a solo record that took root during songwriter Mike Starling's hiatus from performing while working as a beer magazine editor in Boulder, Colorado.
This wasn't driven by ego or "creative differences." He had just moved away from all the musicians he used to gig with in Wisconsin.
There were also a few guest musicians on the album. Kevin Skrenes, who previously played with Starling in the Sons of Distortion band, played the drum kit on "Rocket." Bob Mueller, who played drums in Starling's first band, Your Missing Socks, played the drum kit on "Winter." Jackson Huus, son of studio owner Brett Huus, sang the backing vocals on "It's A Big Dumb World." He was just nine years old at the time.
On "Cool Music for a Big Dumb World," Starling expands on the mostly acoustic sound of the first Bean Hoy CD with more electric guitars and bluesier material. Songs like "Groovy Town," "Oh! Sandfly!" and "Baby Boomer Blues," though, show he hasn't lost his knack for penning a droll and sharp-witted lyric.
"A reflection of inane pop culture, where one no longer condemns the plastic world around us but instead videotapes it for later when there's nothing else on," is the way critic Ted Johnson described the Bean Hoy sound.
ABOUT THE BAND
Guitar-slingin' journalist Mike Starling started the Bean Hoy band as an outlet for his wry, topical tunes about subjects like road construction, farmer tans and the joys of beater cars and Wisconsin winters. Taking the stage in everything from an acoustic duo on up to an eight-piece rock band with a brass section called the Horns of Vengeance, Bean Hoy's spirited and unpredictable sound draws inspiration from such sundry sources as Bob Dylan, John Lee Hooker, the Velvet Underground and Mad magazine.
The group's debut cassette won Best Local Recording of the Year in the 1993 La Crosse Area Music Awards (LAMMIES). The best songs on that long-out-of-print tape were remastered and re-released with six new tracks on the 1998 CD "Boys Can't Be Trusted." A second disc, "Cool Music for a Big Dumb World," followed in 2006. "Get Lost: The Studio J Sessions" (2008) was the last studio release and the only one by the Milwaukee-based version of the band.
Text, CD cover photo and sound recordings copyright ©Mike Starling (mikestarling.com). Songs published by Bean Hoy Music (BMI). All rights reserved.