HILARY SCOTT – Don’t Call Me Angel (Belltown)

Don't Call Me AngelReleased in the 20th anniversary of her older brother’s death, which saw her take her stage name in his honour, Don’t Call Me Angel  is Washington- born multi-instrumentalist Scott’s 12th studio album , one that veers more to soul and blues than her previous country sound. Indeed, as part of the crowd-funding process fans were invited to suggest covers to rearrange, the result being a slow blues version of Prince’s ‘Kiss’ that oozes sensuality and seduction as opposed to the ten pints want some of this bluster of Tom Jones.

Backed by drummer husband AJ Gennaro, bassist Josh Schilling, Grammy-winning guitarist Johnny Lee Schell and Mike Finnigan on Hammond organ, slow burn soulful moods are also struck on the organ-backed gospel tinged ‘Make It Right’, tender baby grand piano ballad ‘Moon and Back’, ‘Not Used To Being Used To’ and slow waltzer ‘Heartless’ while album closer ‘Here I Am’ returns to the gospel end of the spectrum.

Which isn’t to say that her country roots don’t show through. ‘You Will Be Mine’ has a roadhouse bar band heart and, riding Gennaro’s steady drum beat, ‘In Time’ has a familiar chiming jog rhythm, albeit without the over-orchestration Nashville likes to load on such. numbers. By way of something different, ‘Unlove Story’ breaks out a baritone Cordoba ukulele to join the bubbling Hammond and clopping percussion bring a lighter musical note to the song’s melancholic pessimistic outlook on finding romance.

However, it’s the opening title track, a sort of emotional opposite to ‘Angel of the Morning’, that sets the seal on the album’s quality, a slow, brushed honky tonk snare brushed waltz with Scott playing two different six string guitars doubled and overlaid to create the 12-string jangle while Lee Schell adds mandolin as she sings “I could never be your savior… just a thief doing time/When you think about me, think of me at my worst/The heroes, the martyrs, the saints, they all ended up cursed” as the number builds to a climax and a quiet farewell.

Quite simply, it’s one of the best old school Americana heartbreakers I’ve heard this year. The rest of the album’s pretty damn fine too.

Mike Davies

Artist’s website: www.hilaryscott.com

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