Saturday, 21 April 2012

Hillfolk Noir: Radio Hour

Hillfolk Noir
Radio Hour

It was back in January when I first heard of Hillfolk Noir and wrote my review of Skinny Mammy's Revenge.  They are already back with a new offering of 'Junkerdash'.

Radio Hour has been devised to sound exactly as the name suggests; it's like listening to a radio station for an hour and experiencing the range of different songs and occasional jingles. The conceit of basing an album around the loose premise of a radio show isn’t entirely original (The Who Sell Out is an older example) but given Hillfolk Noir's style it's one which works well and is not overdone to the extent where it could become too forced or intrusive.

Following the typical sound of a radio tuning in, the band launch into Down the Road, an easy going, catchy sing-a-long number which should have the listener indulging in a little toe-tapping before the song is through.

Thereafter we have a selection of different styles, including slower blues such as Ballad of a  Lonely Rounder, the humorous The Great Grizzly Bear Scare, a lazy old love song (Hand in Hand), the occasional concept jingle (Hillfolk Wild Root Cream Oil) and the downright unusual (Talking Music Blues).

The list of personnel reveals some very unusual instruments, entirely in keeping with the Hillfolk style:

Travis Ward: writing and arranging, guitar, singing, harmonica, tooth knuckle, kazoo
Alison ‘’The Warden’’ Ward: triangle, singing saw, washboard, banjo, singing, kazoo
Mike ‘’PW8’’ Waite: upright bass
Jared Goodpaster: snare, tambourine, suitcase, jug
Travis Swartz: coot hooter
Shaun King: banjo, clanker

It's all quirky, inventive and original stuff and I imagine the band would be a terrific live act.

Track List

Down The Road
Run Round Reel
Ballad of a Lonely Rounder
Hillfolk Wild Root Cream Oil
The Great Grizzly Bear Scare
Parchman Farm Blues
Pig Town Jug
Trash Can
Hand in Hand
Don't Mean Nothing
Talking Music Blues
Rattler in the Outhouse
Jim Beam Blues

The final track includes a couple of brief bonus pieces just when you think the CD has finished.

Keep up to date with Hillfolk Noir by visiting their official website and this page of the Brookfield Knights site.

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