Harold Hill,
Harold Hill
(self-produced, 2002)

This is a good old country album doing what good country music has done for decades. It tells stories that are relevant to the listener and combines the tale with a good tune.

Harold Hill has produced a nice deep mellow sound to sell his thoughts on this self-titled album and the production suits his style. "Cowboy Up" opens the album with a real old western song referring to pick-up trucks, rodeos and the faithful horse. "Pick Me" is another self-penned piece and this time he is seeking love from a girl who has "her pick of a thousand boys." Who hasn't been there?

Hill does not write my favourite track but it is a fabulous story-song about a well being filled in. The title says it all: "Dig Another Well." It has a great driving beat and tells us too make our own luck rather than waiting for the "cheque in the mail." "Hard Times" continues the theme of making the most of life. This is a very life affirming song well delivered. "San Antonio Sweetheart" harks back to an era of Hank Williams-style songs that combined nice simple lyrics and that wailing guitar that evokes a bygone age although it is of 1999 vintage.

There is a beautiful story told in "Perfume" as the singer comes to terms with separation. This is the sort of song that, if Garth Brooks wrote and performed it, we would see in the charts. Hill does every bit as good a job.

I loved the title "She Just Started Liking Cheatin' Sings." A true sign of a confident performer is not being afraid to use such fun titles. The album concludes with "Little Cowgirl Goodnight," a nice slow lullaby type song.

This is what real country music is all about, but it will appeal to anyone who likes good music -- you don't need the Stetson.

[ by Nicky Rossiter ]
Rambles: 18 August 2002