Friday, February 18, 2011

Emma Hill and Her Gentlemen Callers - Meet Me at the Moon

Emma Hill is back and this time she has brought her Gentlemen Caller with her. Her third album, Meet Me at the Moon, was released February 14 through her own label Kuskokwim Records, and is the first album with full band credit. She caught national attention with an NPR feature on her jet-setting tour across North America with her band mate and pedal steel player, Bryan Daste, in support of her last album, Clumsy Seduction. After NPR brought her honeyed voice and melodious countrified indie-folk to my attention, Clumsy Seduction became one of my sonic staples and I'm more than happy to hear that Meet Me at the Moon is a continuation of Hill's soulful sound.

Meet Me at the Moon offers up thirteen commanding country-tinged folk songs, and since the Gentlemen Callers have called, the album has more twang. Their accompaniments have added a bolder and richer sound than previously heard on Clumsy Seduction. No longer just focused on Hill's luscious vocals and acoustic guitar, Emma used the instrumental talents of Bryan Daste (pedal steel, banjo, and vocals), Andrew Nelson (drums), and John Blunk (bass) in making these particular songs even more charming, and, although, the band adds so much, Emma's vocals are still the centerpiece.

Consistently great all the way through, there are a few stand outs. Like the romantic and catchy title track which features shining pedal steel, light percussion, and Hill's sweet lilt shaded with happiness. While on "The Keeper" Emma sings honestly about the temporal quality of her relationship. Her powerful voice neither gentle nor harsh but poised. Hill's emotional vocals combined with the stirring guitar solo and flowing piano on "I'll Never Be Her" is moving. Finally, the rhythmic strumming and subtle banjo in "I Don't Want You Hangin' Around" compliment Hill's restrained yet big vocals and appealing melody.

This new full band arrangement in Meet Me at the Moon and Emma's strong vocal prowess will resonate with people everywhere garnering new fans as well as delighting the old. Her keen ability to write pretty, heartfelt songs that allow the listener a glimpse into her personal life and feelings have made Emma Hill an indie-folk darling on the edge of wider recognition.

Purchase and Stream Meet Me at the Moon on Bandcamp
Purchase Meet Me at the Moon on Amazon

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