The Bill Hilly Band
Imagine David Grisman playing "Istanbul (Not Constantinople)" or maybe Brave Combo or Reptile Palace unplugged and there you sort of have it. The Bill Hilly Band is from Victoria, British Columbia and they play acoustic North American world "fusion," flip-flopping amongst traditional Appalachian, domestic nostalgia, and traditional European and Latin music. True to their name, The Bill Hillys, hatched from backgrounds in rock, jazz, folk, classical, world, and Celtic music, avoid the vacuous pretentiousness of many multi-ethnic bands by not really "fusing" but rather by gathering world and pop influences, entire songs, in fact, into their own "Canadian" banjo- and mandolin-heavy nuevo acoustic musical structure. The Andrews Sisters' "Bei Mir Bist Du Schon" and the Bills' own exotic Caribbean-favored "When the Day Is Over (O Ya)" are immediate ear catchers, but if one waits, there are also solid traditional style versions of "Shady Grove/Dusty Miller" and "Old Bangum"...with perhaps a dusting of Cordelia's Dad. Save for a couple of instrumentals (the fast, klezzy "Siyanka Hotsulka" and O Carolan's "Fanny Powers") the 15 tracks feature amiable male vocals, sometimes in tandem. Though by nature more orderly than their live performances, this is a nice debut album. - Judith Gennett
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