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Reviews: Arty Hill & The Long Gone Daddys, Back on the Rail and Montgomery on My Mind: The Hank EP

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Arty Hill & The Long Gone Daddys
Back on the Rail
Montgomery on My Mind: The Hank EP
[Cow Island (2009-2010)]

Baltimore may not be the first place one looks to for great country music but Arty Hill could enhance that city’s image as solid honky-tonk terrain. Some critics considered Hill’s Bar of Gold one of the best Real Country albums of 2008 and the acclaim motivated the Cow Island label to reissue Back on the Rail, an earlier album from 2005. While this album, to which a bonus track has been added, may not be quite as impressive as Bar of Gold, it’s nonetheless a strong country album. The instrumentation, which consists of Hill’s flattop guitar, Craig Stevens on bass, and Dave Chappell’s very impressive work on the Telecaster, is a model of economy and good taste. As the title of one of Hill’s songs suggests, the material sounds as if it’s “Based On Real Life.”

Arty Hill’s latest release features a different band but it’s a tribute to Hank Williams so the twang meter is still set on full throttle. The EP -it contains eight songs so it’s actually more like a short album- features five songs written by or associated with Hank, including “I’m a Long Gone Daddy,” the song which gave Hill’s group its name. Two originals, namely “Church on a Saturday Night” and “Montgomery on My Mind,” serve as tributes while “Don’s Bop” is a tip of the hat to Don Helms, Hank’s steel guitar player. Very impressive, especially when one considers that Hill has a buttoned-down day job as a lawyer. [www.cowislandmusic.com]

—Paul-Emile Comeau (Comeauville, NS, Canada)

© 2010 DriftwoodMagazine.com, All rights reserved.

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