Rooted in Americana and spouting a folk pop sensibility, Emma Hill’s Clumsy Seduction
is rife with discovery. From unusual tempo changes to unexpected torch songs, from flirting with found sounds to cracking up on hidden tracks, there are surprises around each turn. But there is one constant which links the songs on this album, and that is Emma Hill’s big voice. Rich, with a hint of smokiness and just a suggestion of twang, it’s a substantial voice that is almost startling in its expanse.
That’s particularly surprising when you consider that Emma Hill is barely into her twenties. A seasoned musician from Alaska, now residing in Portland, she projects an endearing fearlessness. She is no stranger to the road, is Ms Hill, with a solo Greyhound tour under her belt and, more recently, having completely a blistering cross-country tour via a JetBlue All You Can Jet pass.
There is a playfulness to Emma Hill’s music. Her seduction techniques may be clumsy, but she is good natured about the rejection; she may find solace in the bottom of the bottle, but she revels in drinking the boys under the table.
In a curious reversal of the perceived wisdom of track mixing, I find myself returning more often to the songs in the bottom half of the album. This is where you find the real gems, the tracks that infiltrate your consciousness, the songs that truly showcase the diversity of Emma Hill’s voice. Songs like I am the Rock, You are the Wind
and Highway 101
hearken back to the very roots of Americana, fitting like a tattered cardigan against the winds of change, while the stunning torch song, Doctor
, suggests a future fit for Emma Hill amongst the great American ladies of song.
is a richly diverse album, and Emma Hill is a versatile musician who is making strides. Watch for her.