This June, the Memphis music scene received the sad news that another of its favorite sons, local power-pop pioneer Tommy Hoehn, died at the age of 55.
Up until his untimely passing, Hoehn had been hard at work on two projects: an as-yet unfinished collection of new songs tentatively called Pi (slated to be completed later this year by a group of Hoehn's closest musical allies, including producer Chris Swenson and longtime collaborator Van Duren), and a re-issue of his classic and long out-of-print 1978 album Losing You to Sleep (originally released on the major label London Records) with rare/unreleased bonus tracks.
As work continues on Pi, local indie label Milk & Soda Records unveiled this week the new version of Losing You to Sleep, which now includes seven additional Hoehn recordings from the period.
“About three weeks before Tommy passed, he came to the realization that he wasn't going to be able to finish the record,” says Milk & Soda owner Henry Loeb. “So he came to me and asked if we could instead work on a compilation of some sort of his older material. He really wanted to have that material on disc before he died. Fortunately, I was able to give him an unmastered copy just in time.”
“Tommy was always under-recognized as an artist in my opinion, but hopefully this will help spread his music to new listeners.”
Losing You to Sleep is perhaps Hoehn's most well-known effort, largely on the strength of the minor-hit single “Blow Yourself Up,” which was also included on the 1993 Rhino Records compilation D.I.Y.: Come Out and Play: American Power Pop I (1975-78). The re-issued version features musical contributions from several of Hoehn's more celebrated contemporaries, including Jim Dickinson and Big Star's Chris Bell and Alex Chilton, as well as brand new album artwork by acclaimed local artist/musician Alex Warble.
“It meant a lot to be asked to be a part of anything Tommy had going,” says Warble. “I'm very glad to have spent time with him, his music blows my mind.”