Jess Hill – Orchard

Artist: Jess Hill
Album: Orchard

Vancouver’s Jess Hill has released Orchard, a follow up to her debut album Road, which was released in 2006. While Road mostly featured Hill on acoustic guitar accompanying her lovely vocals, Orchard showcases much more colourful arrangements. On this album, in addition to Hill on guitar, you’ll hear banjo, mandolin, violin, cello, organ, piano and more. The arrangements in and of themselves tell a story and really help to augment Hill’s already rich vocals, providing depth behind her moving lyrics.

The album starts off with “A Common Bird,” and already Hill’s gorgeous vocals rope the listener in as she greets the listener singing, “One memorable hello.” Hill is capable of such softness, as evident by songs like “Precariously,” “One Crow Calling,” and the album opener. With the former, as Hill asks, “Is love gone from this place?” emotion can be heard in her voice and it’s clear Hill’s lyricism comes from an honest place.

While there’s often softness, Hill also brings power when the songs – and lyrics – require it. Songs like “Stagger,” “In The Evening,” and the title track feature heartier vocals, often complemented by near mesmerizing plucking of the banjo strings. Then there are more ominous sounding tunes, like “Give Me Your Ghost” and “Of A Shadow,” the album closer. Throughout the 10 songs on Orchard, Hill takes the listener through different emotions, but her beautiful vocals allow one to just sit back and enjoy it all.

Listen to the album carefully, though, as you’ll hear certain sounds, adding simple touches to the arrangements and the album as a whole. When I imagine an orchard, I imagine growth, blossoming and lushness. I imagine depth, range and beauty. Jess Hill brings exactly all of this with her aptly titled sophomore release.

Orchard can be streamed from Hill’s Bandcamp page. Jess Hill will be at the Tranzac on April 28th. Be sure to catch her then before she heads back West.

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  1. Jess Hill - April 28, 2011

    […] Buying Shots For Bands Review of Orchard […]

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