Saturday, May 20, 2006

CD Review: Fireflies, Faith Hill

A much anticipated and so far, well received addition to her already stellar career Fireflies lives up to its demands. A few songs have been picked out in advance, along with the title track Fireflies, The Lucky Ones from the video and political statement We've Got Nothing But Love To Prove have all seen a warm reception across the board, but there is so much more to this CD indeed.

Mississippi Girl, in a traditional Faith Hill style is an anthem to her roots of growing up in rural America, and an inner look at her grassroots value system, never pretentious, and always in touch with her fan base of common people. As I listened to the songs I remembered the small Texas towns I grew up in as a preacher's kid, very simple times listening to very good music. While i will listen to everything from Classical to Punk, and like them all in their own ways, I have a special place for Country and Western, especially the ladies! I love a great voice.

The sad ballad I Ain't Gonna Take It Anymore has that magical piano and guitar percussion/melody upfront that underlines a familiar cry from a woman scorned and tired. Paul Franklin's steel guitar sets the mood and the soft mandolin from Aubrey Haynie sells the misery so well, and still sets up hope for times to come, and so a story is told. I like to look inside the CD for quotes, and this quote from Faith is an amazingly well seen view for any artist today,
"It all begins with a song. A lesson I learned 18 years ago upon arrival in Nashville. The songwriters on this album have given me the most amazing gift of all and I feel honored to bring their work to you."

The sinuous tones of Dan Dugmore's dobro, frame the bluegrass feel of If You Ask. The lyrics "I want to be your lover, I don't want to be your policeman" lend credit to her quote above, "It all begins with a song". I will admit that her call to arms We've Got Nothing But Love To Prove is hands down my favorite. It is pointed, yet not a whining political statement that so many artists fall into. The upbeat yet wide eyed lyrics call for a look into everything we are today, "Is everything A-OK in the USA?", and ending with the question "How about You?. So, How about you. Me? I'm just tappin' my foot along in time.

The sheer beauty of guitarist Dann Huuf's gut-string and Stuart Duncan's fiddle are only shadowed by the beautiful voice that has become Faith Hill's signature. The musicians used in cutting this CD are by and afar some of the best that Nashville has to offer, and it shows. I learned in Culinary school that a dish is only as good as the quality of ingredients used, any Master Chef would be jealous of this wonderful offering to your musical palate.

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