Ned Hill review…January 28, 2018….

NED HILL

SIX FEET ABOVE GROUND

HALF ALIVE–WHERE YA GONE VIRGINIA?–DETROIT CITY (YOU’RE ONE TOUGH TOWN)–THAT’S MY STORY–WHEN YOU’RE GONE–YOU GOT IT–KICK THE STARS–REVIVAL–STREETS OF MY HOMETOWN–MARRY A WAITRESS–THINKIN’ ABOUT YOU

Singer-songwriter Ned Hill has had a storied career as the driving force behind bands such as Ned Van Go, The Cowards, and The Blue Cha Chas to showcase his poignant material.  Always the troubadour, he brings us songs of life and love, winning and losing, laughing and crying, and hopeful ultimate redemption.  “Six Feet Above Ground,” due on March 9, 2018, marks his first solo release.  It also marks a change from the days of his raucous, Strat-bashing, this set taking a more acoustic turn.  The set was produced by Dave Coleman, who handles all the electric and slide guitar work, to give Ned more room to get listeners in touch with the songs.

Ned uses metaphors and symbolism throughout these songs to convey his message.  Up first is a decidedly-bluesy cut, “Half Alive,” where, when he speaks of a lover, realizes that “I know her world won’t change for anyone else.”  The addition of a string section herein gives the otherwise-sparse arrangement a bit more of an edgy vibe.  Ned uses “Detroit City (You’re One Tough Town)” as a metaphor for a lover who’s long-gone, but Ned assures us that both he and that town will “rise from the burned-out ashes.”  The dying small towns of America literally doomed on the day “Sam Walton banged his drum,” is the theme of “The Streets Of My Hometown,” while the unbearable pain of loneliness and “who will be there to find me” is the somber tone of “When You’re Gone.”

We had two favorites, too.  “That’s My Story” is Ned’s autobiography of growing up in Horse Cave, KY, where “the segregation line was the railroad track,” yet they all found a way to get along.  And, Biblical references galore mark the upbeat and uplifting story of old-time traveling tent preachings, “Revival.”

With “Six Feet Above Ground,” Ned Hill fights the good fight for all of us struggling day by day, hoping one day to come out as winners.  Sho’ nuff not bad for “an old folksinging troubadour!”  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

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