The music drives the words and the words drive the music, and for Doug Hoekstra it’s always the indefinable spaces that live on the page, off the canvas, or between the notes (as he writes in the introduction to his poetry collection, Unopened).
Hoekstra grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, was educated at DePaul University (B.A.) and later, Belmont University in Nashville (M.Ed.). He formed his first band in his hometown of Chicago, the alt-country tinged Bucket Number Six. Bucket released their eponymous debut on Dave Benton and Butch Vig’s Boat Records label, followed up by High On the Hog, produced by Shoes’ Jeff Murphy, except for two cuts recorded at Sun Records in Memphis. Bucket gigged incessantly around the Chicago area and the greater Midwest, barreling through the countryside in their beloved Cal-Van the Tin Can.
After the Bucket dropped, Hoekstra moved to Nashville and began his career as a solo artist, releasing eight CDs and one EP in on various labels in the U.S. and Europe over the next decade, including Rickety Stairs (Nashville Music Award nominee, Best Folk Album), Make Me Believe (first to be released in Europe, title track “Sam Cooke Sang the Gospel” appearing in the film Strange Hearts), Around the Margins (Independent Music Award nominee), and Waiting (a home recording that became one of the inaugural releases on the fledgling Paste Records). Hoekstra toured extensively on both sides of the pond in support of his catalogue, playing bookstores, coffeehouses, clubs, libraries, pubs, festivals, radio stations, and castles; making frequent appearances on the likes of Acoustic Cafe, E-Town, World Café w/David Dye, Live at the BBC (England and Scotland), the Southern Festival of Books, South by Southwest, and many other notable letter fests gone the way of the laminate man.
In 2008, he released Blooming Roses, after which he stepped back to focus on fatherhood, prose, teaching and non-profit work, until he began writing and recording new material at Howard’s Apartment Studio in Nashville, with Dave Coleman at the helm. These tracks became The Day Deserved, released on Drop Autumn Records (US) and Continental Record Services (Europe) in the spring of 2021, to welcoming reviews and radio play.
“Literarily,” Hoekstra’s first book, “Bothering the Coffee Drinkers,” appeared on the Canopic Publishing (TN) imprint in April 2006 and earned an Independent Publisher Award (IPPY) for Best Short Fiction (Bronze Medal). · As Paste Magazine noted, “Music runs like a liquid vein through these 80-proof experiences. Hoekstra pours it out with a Dylan-esque fervor, giving us a sputtering catalog of beauties and terrors…” Several of the selections in the book appeared in other publications, and one story, “The Blarney Stone” was nominated for a 2006 Pushcart Prize. A second book of Hoekstra prose, The Tenth Inning, and his first book of poetry, Unopened followed, in 2019. Unopened earned stellar reviews and spurred Hoekstra to return to performing through a return to radio, readings, and music gigs, (Get the Funk Out @ KHOE California, , Writers Voices @KHOE Iowa, Word Stream @WDVX Knoxville) and a bevy of music gigs and readings, the latter including Nashville appearances at East Side Storytellin’ (Nashville), Lyrical Brew (Nashville), Poet’s Corner at Scarritt-Bennett (Nashville), and the Southern Festival of Books .
Hoekstra’s latest book of short stories, “Ten Seconds In-Between,” was published by Better than Starbucks press in June, 2021 earning a Royal Dragonfly Award for Best Short Story Collection.
“Doug Hoekstra is either the Hank Williams of the printed page, or the Raymond Carver of the recording studio. Like Leonard Cohen he moves smoothly between writing songs and writing poetry. He works so gracefully because he knows language is the set of wings required and with those wings he can soar and glide. Read him and you will recognize that here is art that’s been waiting for you. It will feel that personal.”
Corey Mesler, Author of Camel’s Bastard Son and Madstones
Hoekstra Discography – Full Length
The Day Deserved (Drop Autumn Records U.S./Continental RS Europe 2021)
Blooming Roses (WingDing Records, U.S./Folkwit UK 2008)
Su Casa Mi Casa (the Official Live Bootleg) (Headroom UK & US 2005)
Six Songs (Wing Ding Records EP 2005)
Waiting (Paste US, June 2003/Headroom UK, 2004)
The Past is Never Past (Inbetweens Europe 2001)
Around the Margins (Inbetweens Europe & US, March 2001)
Make Me Believe (Round Tower UK 2000)
Rickety Stairs (Back Porch)
When the Tubes Begin to Glow (Back Porch)
Hoekstra Discography – EPs, Compilations
Sound Asleep/Hit the Hay (“Camden Town,” Sweden 2005)
Americana-UK (“The Bottomless Pit,” UK)
Comes With a Smile (“Because She Loves Him,” UK) Acuarela Songs (“Watercolor Rose,” Spain)
Doug Hoekstra Combo Live at Sal’s (Hinah, France)
Comes With a Smile ( “If the World Was Blind,” UK)
Songwriter: a contemporary collection (“Cottonwood Tree” /“Slipping Through the Cracks,” XIII Bis Records, France)
Hoekstra Bibliography – Full Length
Ten Seconds Inbetween (Better than Starbucks Publications 2021)
Unopened (poetry, Five Minute Books 2019)
The Tenth Inning (fiction and poems, Five-Minute Books 2014)
Bothering the Coffee Drinkers (fiction and essays, Canopic Publishing 2006)
Hoekstra Publications (Print and Web Journals)
Hoekstra’s literary work has also appeared in numerous print and online journals: 20Twenty Journal, Ambush Review, Arctic Tusk, Baseball Bard, Better than Starbucks, The Big Muddy, The Big Windows Review, Bouillabaisse, Brilliant Flash Fiction, Broke Bohemian, The Canopic Jar, Deep South Magazine, Dirty Chai, Door is Ajar Magazine, Edify Fiction, Elysian Fields Quarterly, Epiphany, Flying Shoes (U.K), Feminine Collective, Fifty Word Stories, Friday Flash Fiction, Gambling the Aisle, Hobart Pulp, Ink 19, In Layman’s Terms, Juke Jar, Main Street Rag, The Maverick Press, The Minneapolis Review of Baseball, On the Tracks, The Palo Alto Review, Paste Magazine, Pure Music, Right Hand Pointing, Second Hand Stories (w/podcast), Si Senor, Southern Hum, Spitball, Stories About Ticket Stubs, Sugar Mule, Twenty20, Threshold (DePaul University), Trampset, Two Cities Review.
Doug lives in the Music City in a ranch house with his son Jude, who he is always extremely proud of and without whom, none of this matters.
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