Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * *
The train is perhaps the mode of transport most closely associated with romance. Not the modern train in which style has been replaced by the uncomfortable pursuit of getting from A to B without ever making eye contact across a table and the small sign of an innocent smile breaking the ice, but the train in which romance and heartbreak go hand in hand, in which a long journey goes by in the blink of a friendly eye or in which becomes part of life’s own dystopia and the stuff of great rock, country or folk songs.
In the hands of Hilary Scott and her eleventh recording, Freight Train Love, the train has pulled out of the station, the smoke of a thousand romances and wished for soft kisses is unrolled across the ensuing countryside. The sound of a heart realising that it has a message to spread, a tale of lost lingering love and battle scared relationships, is unmistakably powerful and hidden in the smoke of life.
Produced by Michael O’Neil, Freight Train Love is a collection of songs, including a rather good cover of Neil Young’s Lotta Love. They stir the emotions to the point in which the listener realises that they are not just listening to the story as if from a remote point on the horizon or from the end of a phone in which the hiss of static kicks in at the most inopportune moment but they are there, sat directly in front of Ms. Scott, eyes making contact and the unburdening of a soul is only a touch away.
It is this special quality, the act of making the journey as deeply personal to the listener as it is to the musician that makes songs such as Help, Get Your Love, the beautiful desolation of Losing You and If You Don’t Love Me such a respectful piece of artistry and intimate chain of songs bound together in an act that would not be out of place in Brief Encounter.
Freight Train Love deserves its status as a great album to listen to, it has a distinct energy in which you cannot help but be pulled along by and the engine that drives it just keeps giving more and more. So many album down the line and there is no sign of the signals turning red for Hilary Scott.
Ian D. Hall
Check out the article on the Liverpool Sound and Vision website