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Hillmen: The Whiskey Mountain Sessions

In spite of the band's name and the album's title, there is nothing to be found here that evokes moonshine trafficking in the Louisiana swamp. (A frisbee toss on a Southern California beach, rather.) Djam Karet co-founder Gayle Ellett and newer Djam-alum Mike Murray supply the chordal, melodic, and neo-psych ingredients on The Whiskey Mountain Sessions via, respectively, keyboards and guitars. Drummer Peter Hillman is the resident rhyhmic pulse, with different bassists (Ralph Rivers, Steve Re) on the first and second pair of tracks. Ellett's dreamy keyboard lines are realized on the wondrous Fender Rhodes electric piano its iconic voice a hallmark of many rock and jazz albums since the '70s and the Hammond C2 organ.

Expectedly, the Hillmen's approach is improvisational in nature but the quartet's compositions evade the sort of looseness that plagues other recordings in this camp. While the compositions of Djam Karet are often surgically hewn and brimming with intensity, the four lengthy forays on Sessions emphasize the journey in lieu of the destination without sacrificing the richness typical of jazz-rock and fusion. Fiery bits are balanced with pleasantly earthy meanderings etched by Ellett's and Murray's smoky electric tones think equal parts Azymuth/Grateful Dead and Djam Karet/Gong. A likely favorite is going to be "The Fire Burns," a tension-building, smoldering epic with guest pianist Brian Carter. With no "singles" and an overall sound not quite like anything else out there, the Hillmen's debut is an unexpected surprise that stands among the best of 2011.


1. Lights On The Bay (8:33)
2. The Fire Burns (16:19)
3. Patio View (9:15)
4. Summer Days (8:54)

Total Time 43:01

Added: April 10th 2012
Reviewer: Elias Granillo
Related Link: HILLMEN @
Hits: 1448
Language: english

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