Urban Hill – The Real Deal | Album Review

urbanhillcdUrban Hill – The Real Deal



12 Tracks/65:02

Based in southeastern Virginia, Urban Hill is a quartet of veteran performers with a guitar-centric sound that is readily apparent on the lead-off track, “Sandbridge Sunny Day,” an instrumental featuring a southern rock-style, twin guitar attack. The proceedings settle into a more laid back approach on “Goin’ Home” as lead singer Lathan Hill’s gritty tone is backed by a scorching guitar solo. Hill and Paul Urban trade guitar licks on “Something Rare” while the rhythm section of Kevin Yoder on bass and Dennis Livreri on drums kick up some dust on “Saturday Night”. On “12th And Vine,” Hill uses his thick-toned voice in hypnotic fashion, singing about being self-medicated, the spell broken by several soaring six-string interludes.

“Fishnet Stockings” is a fierce rocker with Urban adding backing vocals. But the band prefers to take its time, to stretch things out, which is exactly what they do on “It Ain’t Easy Being Me”. With too many women to contend with, Hill lays out his troubles with Bobby Walters using his harp to answer the singer. Then Tyler Bevington has his say on the electric piano. Urban’s lead vocal on “This World” gets buried in the mix but his guitar is front and center with furry of effects-laden notes.

Hill expounds on making it big as he contemplates “Goin’ To Chicago,” where he plans to play in Muddy Waters band and hang out with his good friend Howlin’ Wolf drinking liquor from an old fruit jar. “Recession Blues” is a slower number driven by an insistent guitar riff. Once again the vocals exist far back in the mix. The band breaks out a catchy shuffle for “She Got Me Drinkin’” and the two guitarists deliver solos with some staying power. At more than ten minutes, “Blackbird” has plenty of room for everyone. Walters unleashes some anguished cries on the harp. Hill’s feverish cries are tempered by Bevington’s more deliberate approach on the organ. The singer takes solo honors with beautifully crafted guitar interlude.

Recorded on a portable recorder live with no overdubs, this disc gives us an in-depth glimpse at yet another working band trying to grab a piece of the spotlight. The sound quality favors the instruments,with the guitars up front in the mix while the vocals are often buried. Hill & Urban work well together with the former being more blues-oriented while the latter shows an affinity for plenty of notes run through effects pedals. With over an hour of solid music, this one offers plenty of value.

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