As his online bio makes clear, Jeffrey Halford never had an easy time of it growing up. Born in Dallas, his parents frequently uprooted and relocated, all in search of financial security for their family. With a continuing streak of ups and downs, Halford struggled academically and found his personal salvation in surfing, at least until he picked up a guitar and music swept him up under its spell. He nurtured his muse, and eventually reached the point where he was opening up for folks like Guy Clark, Robert Earl Keen, Los Lobos, Taj Mahal and enough other headliners that got him to the point where he could up the ante on his own.
"Lo-fi Dreams," Halford's eighth album, is a typical rough and tumble affair, one which runs the gamut from swampy, unhinged rockers like "Looking for a Home," "Elvis Shot the Television" and "Good Trouble" to the meditative reflection of "10,000 Miles" and "Last Kiss,"a pair of songs stirred with an aural imagery that evokes hazy southern summers. Yet while Halford often seems intent on demonstrating his rowdier inclinations, he rarely comes across as an agitator or insurgent. Even his most assertive overtures ring with a kind of homegrown honesty and integrity culled from hard knocks and crowning comebacks.
Happily too, Halford has a crackerjack backing band in the Healers, an outfit well suited to anchoring his rootsier regimen. That's especially clear on a song like "Bird of Youth" with its determined dose of both attitude and aptitude. There's assurance in Halford's hard bitten delivery, and even his most tumultuous tales come across with an undeniable sincerity and conviction. In a very true sense, "Lo-fi Dreams" is an album built from hope and happenstance.
Lee Zimmerman is a freelance writer based in Maryville, Tenn. He also expounds on music on his web site, Stories Beyond the Music - Americana Music Reviews, Interviews & Articles.