I have to be honest – I’ve always had a weak spot for female acoustic folk type music. I think it began in the early 90’s with the release of the first Jewel record, Pieces of You. I bought the CD well before any of the songs were played on the radio (what a hipster thing to say) and fell in love with almost 3/4 of the record. So began my pursuit of following female artists that followed that mold – folk based with insanely catchy melodies and lyrics that resonate. To be honest, this is a hard position to straddle – what works for some artists can easily come off as boring music paired with bad poetry (no names, it is all in the eye of the beholder). Amy Hill hails from Brighton, England and her debut album, Place of Mind, is an album that recalls early Jewel while retaining its own unique charm.
Miss Hill’s songs resonate in the classic storytelling mold perfected by such luminaries as Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline, and Joni Mitchell. From the bush land of Australia to the beaches of Brighton, England – each personal experience of hers finds its way into the words & music. Honesty is the key for a performer to connect with their audience – something Amy does with ease. What I enjoy about the record is the way the melodies seep effortlessly into the listeners brain, making key phrases recognizable after just 1 or 2 listens. Little nuances stick out – the way a chorus is enunciated differently later in the song, or even the way her voice is double tracked at times. In short, this is a ridiculously strong debut album that warrants your full attention.
…my head dictating to me (album highlights)
Black Dove gets the album started with haunting acoustic guitar and Amy’s beautiful voice, holding back just a bit. The band kicks in and the atmosphere just builds from there. By about 2 minutes in the track is in full swing, a perfect opening track. The way the vocals are tracked when Amy sings “You know it breaks my soul” is stunning. Key lyrics: “And I’ll be sending all my love to you / When you’re gone I hope to / Hell I know what to do / Cos when you go / You know it breaks my soul”
Heart Where Are You offers up a grittier version of a pop single, an edge in Hill’s voice that commands attention. Acoustic guitar high in the mix with sing-a-long chorus that deserves to be played on the radio. A summer anthem for the questions in life that continually present themselves. Key lyrics: “Remembering / A little thing called intuition / It’s been a while since it made me smile / Been so long since I seen that friend of mine”
Home is an acoustic lament, just Amy Hill’s voice & guitar. The imagery is vivid – both longing for home and moving on from it. An impressive track situated towards the end of the album.
Where To is the 1st single from the record and I can see why – it effortlessly lodges its way into the listeners brain. Acoustic intro in tandem with the vocals, it perfectly encapsulates everything the album is about. Sighing laments in the form of the song’s title, this is a track that should push Amy Hill towards a wider audience.
You can check out Amy’s music and information via her website here. The album is available via Itunes, Amazon, and Bandcamp. Not just a strong debut – this is a masterful album that will leave you longing for more. Highly recommended.
Verdict: Heart full of Hill
For Fans of: Jewel, Neil Young, Carole King, Jeffrey Gaines, Joni Mitchell
- Black Dove
- Road Trip
- My Kind of Happiness
- Heart Where Are You?
- Horse & Cart
- Prettiest Place
- Right Track
- Blues N Roots
- Back to the Green
- Sing the Land
- Where To