In the fall of 2015, Third Half Had the privilege of being invited to a house concert given by our good friend Dot, of Gramma's Attic Promotions. Given Dot's reputation of hosting only the best music, we were delighted to be on the guest list, and even more thrilled when this amazing Americana folk band took up their instruments and began to play. We were absolutely captivated by their beautiful songs, skilled playing and exceptional vocal harmonies. After seeing them live, we knew we wanted to hear them over and over again! Lucky for us, they'd released "Strings", a rootsy folk album that imparts an old time feel in brand new songs. A listener would undoubtedly imagine themself comfortably on an old front porch, right next to this dynamic trio.
Hailing from Southern Maine, this tight knit group is comprised of string players father Bruce, and son Conor Hilton, along with keyboardist Gregg Pannier. The three have an uncanny knack for vocal harmony, as you'll see in the album, and play just as tightly live, which is a real treat for this old Dawg.
The title song of the record, "Strings", is a treat for the ears. A unique love song, it will take you by the hand and fly you away through a romantic countryside adventure. The dobro and mandolin throughout gives the track an almost bluegrass edge, but there's nothing twangy about it, and their beautiful voices hold the meat of this lovely piece.
"Ghost at Work" kicks the energy up a notch, with a deeper country blues feel and high snappy energy. It's a particularly infectious song, and is about as New England as clam chowder and flour biscuits. See if you can listen to it without tapping your feet! My favorite track, "Scooter and Babs" is an upbeat ballad of odd couples and preconceived notions, another toe-tapper, it's fun and light hearted, much like Hilton Park themselves! Gregg holds a funky raggy piano line throughout, and it's a celebration of differences that I definitely recommend.
You'll notice Conor's angelic voice notably in "Blood and Sea"- this young man was born with a music staff for veins and notes flowing through. An intense, striking song, Bruce's lead vocals are alternately soothing and intense- he's got a way with words, and much more.
The vibe of the album definitely carries strong blues and bluegrass roots, and a bold country streak. If you love down home picking and beautiful vocal harmony, this is an album for you! We really like it, and guarantee you'll be as enthralled with their live act, so catch them if you can. They'll be touring this spring, and just might make a stop near you! Just like the album, you'll get a hefty dose of old fashioned charm, great variety of beautifully played folk and classical string instruments, and tight harmonies!
In the mean time, go get the album: http://www.cdbaby.com/m/cd/hiltonpark2
Happy listening! The Dawg