Thursday, 9 May 2013

James Hill

James Hill, who has earned a reputation as Canada’s foremost – indeed one of the world’s foremost – players of the often-underestimated ukulele, stands poised and ready to take his place in the ranks of today’s best young songwriters. Barely into his 30s, his technical prowess on ukulele has been achieved through attacking  the lowly folk instrument with the seriousness and nuance of technique usually associated with the highest levels of virtuosity. His entertaining and unpredictable solo concerts and his inspirational music seminars have made him something of a ukulele-based motivational speaker. And now, Hill’s latest album introduces us to Hill as singer/songwriter, a choice which is growing to rival his prowess as an instrumentalist. Multiple factors come together on Man With a Love Song, the rock-solid musicianship of Hill and his collaborators, the clear strength of Hill’s singing voice, and the playful breadth of the styles in which Hill has chosen to write (from soulful big-band jazz through barrel-house bluegrass to spoken-word-and-junkyard-percussion). But the central astounding fact of this album, is the poetry of the lyrics.


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