The Hilonesome Band is based around the vocals of Susie Glaze. The music here is not bluegrass, but it’s first-rate. There is humor and more than a touch of class to the project. There are some strong original numbers augmented by J.D. Souther’s “Prisoner In Disguise” and David Olney’s brilliant “Millionaire.” “Don’t Resist Me” displays a dark humor that’s beyond most of bluegrass.
The band shows its chops on the opening cut, an instrumental called “Independence.” The title-cut is country cuteness. “Heartland” paints a bleak picture of our loss of power as a manufacturing force in the world. Bassist Fred Sanders offers a nicely tongue-in-cheek rendition of “That’s How I Learned To Sing The Blues.” “The Mountain” and the traditional “Dens Of Yarrow” are plaintive ballads. The first describes mountain-top removal and the latter conjures the darkness of the best of the old gothic ballads. These songs show off Susie’s voice nicely, as does her superb reading of “Prisoner In Disguise.” The last two cuts, “The Last To Leave” and “Never Give Up,” standout for great singing and fine lyrics, leaving the listener wanting more with their urbane arrangements.
If there were a word to describe this fine band, it would be sophisticated. They draw influences from disparate sources to meld their sound. The level of musicianship is exemplary. Rob Carlson on guitar, Steve Rankin on mandolin, Fred Sanders on bass, and Mark Indictor on fiddle display a great range of prowess and work as a tight unit. They are ably assisted by several of the West Coast’s biggest bluegrass names, including Herb Pedersen and Chris Hillman. Joe Craven’s percussion and Skip Edwards accordion also contribute to the project. (www.susieglaze.com)RCB