Natalie Jane Hill
Dear Life Records
A Smartly Subdued and Not Too Gauzy Dreamscape of Musings and Late Night Woolgathering.
Recorded on analog tape during the pandemic, this sophomore effort by Texan native Natalie Jane Hill is something of a document of solitude and inward reflection.
Driven by Hill’s softly plucked acoustic along with her pure and lovely voice, and fueled by her poetic observations of detailed simplicity, SOLELY isn’t sonically anything new, but that’s not even near the point.
These songs come at you like they are ripped out and then found again, discarded pages from a dream journal, impressionist scraps of life, day to day musings, late night woolgathering, early morning dream haze thoughts.
The first verse in “Euphoria” is straight out of our recent past with folks stuck at home alone:
“Remember when you’d drive to distract a nervous mind?
Avoiding the street home till the low fuel light glows
And you’d find an empty lot, park the car, sit with your thoughts
Underneath the magnolia, sweet in euphoria Where’s my euphoria?”
“To Feel Alone” props up this feeling with annotations of solitude, while “Orb Weaver” is a memory of early love brought on by the Natalie seeing a spider spinning her web.
Then, in “Listen To Me Tomorrow” the narrator is giving advice to their future self.
Will the advice be followed?
Only tomorrow knows.
“Better Now” ends the album with the hope of a wish to change the past, something I think we can all identify with that sentiment. There’s a lot of nature throughout these songs too; spiderwebs, flowers, birds, rivers, the sky, trails; whether through observation, or reflection, grounding the songs with a strong foundation of ‘self’.
A smartly subdued and not too gauzy production by Jason Chronis, which utilizes violin, cello, pedal steel, vibraphone, and autoharp to augment Hill’s guitar and voice, add to the dreamy sound of these charming songs.
A smattering of double-tracked vocals give a bit of uneasiness to the tunes too.
All in all, a fascinating and fully satisfying album from start to finish.
Review by the Legendary Roy Peak
Released 29th October 2021
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