CD REVIEW: Charlie Hill - The Landing
By Cyrus Rhodes - 05/09/2012 - 12:40 PM EDT
Artist: Charlie Hill
Album: The Landing
Label: Independent Artist
Genre: Acoustic Folk/Rock
Sounds Like: Michael Hedges, Adrian Legg, William Ackerman, Alex De Grassi
Technical Grade: 7/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 7/10
Commercial Value: 8/10
Overall Talent Level: 7/10
Songwriting Skills: 8/10
Performance Skill: 7/10
Best Songs: Dogs in Paradise, Surreal McCoy (The Hospice Nurse)
Weakness: More Instrumentation, Marketability
Tulsa OK. based finger style guitarist Charlie Hill releases his latest effort entitled The Landing in 2012. On this debut release Hill carries on the exciting tradition of the accoutic guitar masters like Leo Kottke and the late Michael Hedges.
The CD gently takes to flight with “Dogs in Paradise” an impressive acoustic ballad that delivers steady acoustic guitar rhythm, catchy melody, and impressive finger picking style from Hill. Track 2 “The Landing” is another impressive track that showcases more of the same impressive classical-Americana guitar overtones meshed with a heartfelt musical delivery against impressive melodic foundation. Track 3 “Hayward Hawthorne” keeps things moving in the right direction with it’s passionate vibe, hooky guitar rhythm and warm melodic textures comparable to a warm blanket. This piece flows and ebbs it’s way through to emotional fruition. As the CD slowly unfolds I can hear musical overtones reminiscent of classic Michael Hedges, Adrian Legg, William Ackerman, Alex De Grassi and even Billy McLaughlin. Hill may not be as techical as some of these playes but his music is definately cut from the same cloth. Hill is an accomplished acoustic guitarist (writer, composer, player) providing Classical/Americana guitar music that is pure and genuine. Hill’s guitar playing virtuoso is classically mesmerizing as he showcases some impressive playing. Hill makes the case with his intricate finger picking style, melodic accents, well placed harmonic accents and impressive fretwork and phrasing. Timing is spot on within each piece. For the record Hill does an amazing job occupying the sonic space all by himself. This is not as easy to do as it sounds and is reserved on for master performers. As a result all pin drop moments are to die for. This music is extremely invigorating, therapeutic and goes down slow and easy. The overall recording quality of all performances are to Gold Standard. From dynamic "Intro-Crosscut", to bold "Polaris Pass", to infectious "Alleen” to mesmerizing "Surreal McCoy (The Hospice Nurse)" this CD has something for just about everyone. Track 8 “Simple Song” even showcase Hill on vocals. The CD ends with Track 9 “Love Letters from Arabia” the perfect finale statement for a CD of this caliber.
This CD does exactly what it’s supposed to do – provide a bare bones musical setting with it's earthy atmosphere and acoustical guitar front. I do however wonder what kind of dynamics more sparse instrumentation would provide the catalogue. Things like conservatively placed flute, percussion, harpsichord, mandolin, pedal steel, violin piano, stand-up bass, cello, harmonica, organ and even a guest guitar appearance would no doubt bring more entertainment value to the table. I will add this can be done without compromising the solitary musical foundation Hill has created. One final note: if I was producer I would clearly put “Simple Song “ at the end of the catalouge.
Overall The Landing is an impressive release from Charlie Hill. The strong suit is the invigorating, therapeutic vibe you get from the music. Just hit play, suit back and see where the music takes yous mind, body and soul. I really admire artists out there who are themselves and just let the chips fall where they may. Praise goes out to the artist that do and show us something real and genuine beneath their veil of vanity. Charlie Hill is one of these artists. He is clearly not trying to be something he's not. Charlie Hill will work best on days you want a delicate acoustical guitar setting to fill your sonic atmosphere. It’s nice to know there are still artists out there that believe in the miricles of live performance. Hill tells each tale with hope, passion and pure honesty, all the while capturing some lightining in a bottle for us to hear. When this CD is over you will be dazzled by his guitar playing, touched by his musical presence, and mesmerized by his wisdom. Need I say more - it's a perfect landing.
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