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Emma Hill and Her Gentlemen Callers

Meet Me at the Moon

(Kuskokwim; US: 14 Feb 2011; UK: Import)

Melodic, heartfelt and low-key

Alaska-born Emma Hill plies a variety of alt-country, or country-folk, that utilizes a mostly-acoustic palette of sounds to create striking, powerful songs. Hill’s voice is smooth and strong, by turns wistful and defiant, and if she never lets loose, well, she never just phones it in either. Songs are consistently engaging, with an emphasis on melody, and Hill is capably backed by her band, the Gentlemen Callers, who provide the right amount of support without being intrusive. Standout cuts include “I’ll Never Be Her”, a song that builds from a slow opening to a layered confection of guitars, piano and angst, and “The Keeper”, with its infectious chorus and Norah Jones vibe. Not all the songs are equally memorable, but there is much warmth and sincerity to appreciate in this melodic, heartfelt, low-key record.

Rating:

DAVID MAINE is a novelist and essayist. His books include The Preservationist (2004), Fallen (2005), The Book of Samson (2006), Monster, 1959 (2008) and An Age of Madness (2012). He has contributed to The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, Esquire.com and NPR.com, among other outlets. He is a lifelong music obsessive whose interests range from rock to folk to hip-hop to international to blues. He currently lives in western Massachusetts, where he works in human services. Catch up with his blog, The Party Never Stops, at davidmaine.blogspot.com, or become his buddy on Facebook (or Twitter or Google+ or whatever you prefer) to keep up with reviews and other developments.


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Emma and The Gents perform "Meet Me at the Moon" at Overlook Park in Portland, OR
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