CHLOE & SILAS – Spring Hill (One Tree Hill Records OTHRCDSI – 01)

Every now and then I receive an album of which I have no expectations but pleasantly surprises and “Spring Hill” by Chloe Hall (vocal and guitar) and Silas Palmer (fiddle/percussion/voice and presumably piano and keyboards?) proves the point nicely. Funnily enough I had just been playing some tracks by Suzanne Vega (thank God for iTunes!) and in a way this recording wouldn’t seem out of place in my female singer/songwriter collection from the mid 80’s. Opening with the technically nuanced “Call Somebody” where the phrasing is all important brings a knowledge of dramatic effect vividly to the fore showing a thought process clearly aimed at entering the consciousness of those willing to ‘listen’ carefully to lyrics. Also, the arrangements prove the old adage that less is more with only a hint of colour instrumentally expertly placed to bolster Hall’s impressive guitar accompaniment. Having captured my imagination I just couldn’t stop playing the album until the end with the proof (for me at least) that there’s not a duff track here. Trust me…this is a rare thing in my position as a reviewer who enjoys the luxury of the fast forward button if I’m not sure about certain songs. On another track, the beguiling “Tax Office Love Song” Ms Hall has a way with words that makes you feel she wouldn’t be a good candidate for the Jeremy Kyle Show (she’d be far too clever for his ‘probing’ questions) or is that just my snobbish view rising to the surface? If you haven’t guessed it already I‘m totally smitten and if there was a star rating high enough I’d say it had gone inter-galactic! Now, if you’ll excuse me I’m just off to play the whole recording again.


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