Like a Rolling Thunder – Hunter by Hunter (A Review)

Some musicians love music.
It’s not just in what they say.
It’s in their music.
A love, a driving force behind guitar strums and overlaid vocals.

I think about this as I push play on Hunters’ “Que Sera, Sera” for the third time today.
Throughout the album I hear pieces that remind me of some of my favorite artists.
The opening to “Smooth Seas Never Made for a Skilled Sailor” reminds me of O’Death before hitting Tom Waits-esque phrasing; the aforementioned “Que Sera, Sera” reminds me of Eisley and Veruca Salt.
I’m not trying to say that Hunter sounds like a bunch of different artists.
The point I’m trying to make is there are certain musicians that ARE music. They tap into a collective musicality, a wellspring that all great musicians have access to.
IMG_7986

It’s dark outside, being after midnight. It’s no longer humid and the dew has already settled on the grass.
Apparently there is a bear somewhere in the neighborhood.
The world seems to be going to shit one protest at a time.
I use my headphones as armor.
If there is music, hate cannot touch my life.
I turn up the volume.

Hunter reached out to me after my last music review to tell me she liked it, and I found out she is a musician.
She asked me to have a listen to her album. The one I’m listening to now.
She didn’t ask for anything more.
I listened to it.
I listened to it again.
Then bought the album.
Then listened again.

The bugs are making music, a very droning nature sound that will be here long after I’m dead.
The buzz of ever-present, unseen nature.
That’s the essence of music.
It’s forever, it’s eternal.
I know that’s the same thing, but take each one with different sentiments.

When Hunter messaged me I could tell she was young, giddy, excited and passionate.
Her music is the same.
It’s youthful in a way that makes it never grow old.
It’s giddy in the way that it makes you tap your feet, then bob your head, and eventual you feel the need to dance.
It’s excited in the way that it increases your heart rate, puts a smile on your face.
It’s passionate…well, just listen, you can hear her passion for music in EVERY song.

I asked her – why music?
I wasn’t sure how this review was going to go.
But, Hunter surprised me with her answer.
She told me her story about growing up and learning instruments. Bob Dylan to put her to sleep, Beatles quizzes at breakfast.

I wasn’t sure how I was going to do this review. I’m not one to do the typical “this is good, you should listen to it” type of review. I want a review that is akin to the music.
I wasn’t sure what to do until Hunter said “I would do improv on every instrument to find the words I really wanted to say.”
Think about that for ten seconds. I’ll wait.
Music is her voice.

The last song on the album, “Vagabond” comes on. I can hear a very distinct Bob Dylan sounding harmonica lick in there, because, as her dad said – “Because Dylan Rocks.”
It makes me smile, the way an old memory does.

Hunter changed her name.
From what, I don’t know.
But it fits her.
Her music is on the warpath. Her music is a tiger in the jungle, eyes twinkling and claws ready.
Her voice is strong and Nina-Simone-Raw.
It’s the voice of Artemis – a cry of protection, of love. I listen, hate cannot touch me.

To hear more from Hunter, go to her bands facebook page here and I strongly urge you to buy her album on Bandcamp (only $5…and trust me…it’s worth so much more) here.

 

Advertisements

Bones In My Teeth: The Liz Bills EP

I’m sitting in a rocking chair in an old-fashioned seaside town.
People hoot and holler fueled by joy, alcohol, the unbeatable freedom that comes with a week of vacation.
A block away the ocean waves break on New Jersey sand.
Above the moon is hinting at orange and promised storm clouds begin to roll across the sky.
In my ears, the soon to be released Liz Bills EP playing over and over.

It’s getting cold as the breeze picks up.
I’m on vacation from the desert, so any drop below 80 is going to give me a chill.

Earlier this evening I went on a Haunted Trolley tour, rambling around the town learning about all of the Bed & Breakfasts that count ghosts amongst their guests.

There’s something about knowing you’re surrounded by ghosts…

There’s something about a good ghost story to plant that seed of spooky in the back of your mind.

There’s something about a good story. Period.img_7934.jpg

Some of the best songs are stories set to music.
Some of the best songwriters are musical story tellers.

Have you listened to a song and just been able to see it? Like the song automatically elicits a music video in your head?

“My Man,” the second song on the EP kicks on. The pulsing guitar strumming going in time with the swings of the young woman on the porch swing across the patio from me.
It could be her theme song as she scrolls through her phone, curled up in an oversized sweatshirt.
It’s so easy to assume that romantic thoughts are swirling through her head and with each swipe of her thumb as she refreshes whichever apps she’s looking at.

And that might be one of Liz Bills hidden talents.
Her songs, stories themselves, have a way of inserting themselves into the soundtracks of the lives of everyone around you.

The third song comes on, and that’s the one that grabs me in its hairy jaws. “Werewolf” plays, and I knew before it was over the first time I heard it, I would hit replay the second it finished.

The wind is picking up and the front woman of Analog Heart is crooning wolf howls with a voice that sounds so innocent it’s almost possible to forget she’s singing about pain and heartache and love and lust.
Her songs are right up their with the best of the acoustic country/rock/alternative songs you hear on your fancy satellite radio.

If I close my eyes and block out this New Jersey ocean town – ignore the cars and the people, the smells of food and spilled drinks and cigarette smoke – I can see Liz Bills, backlit by blue with her guitar singing her heart out to all the women who think they are broken, to everyone looking for the love of their life or the love for the night; to all of those scrolling through social media feeling like they are missing out and to all of those sitting in a rocking chair on a porch in Cape May, NJ with their ear buds in and eyes closed.

Liz Bills sings in a voice that is astonishingly clear and capable. Her melodies are catchy and upbeat. Her music is perfect for the bar, the party, the beach, the city.
What I’m trying to say is, she discards the safe sounds.
You can hear her peeling away her own layers as if to say “this is who I am now. I might change tomorrow, I might not, but this is me and I will always be me.”

Music changes, just like everything else. But you just know that even if her sounds change, everything she puts out will be authentic Liz Bills. Whether it’s an upbeat love song or a more secretly sinister sound – it’s her.
That’s what you get with her music – her and nothing less.

As the “Bomb Song” closes out I find myself rocking in time with the music.
I think a stray cat just crossed the street in front of me (then again, there are ghosts here).
I stop rocking. For a minute.
Then push play again and start the EP over.

 

To check out more from Liz Bills visit her at https://liz-bills-atlg.squarespace.com and soon (Very Soon) at lizbills.com