Michael Doherty reviews Hilary Scott’s new album, Don’t Call Me Angel. A copy of the review is below. You can check it out on Michael Doherty’s Music Log, along with reviews of other great music!
Tuesday, January 15, 2019
Hilary Scott: “Don’t Call Me Angel” (2018) CD Review
“Hilary Scott is a singer and songwriter working largely in the country and folk realm. Her newest release, Don’t Call Me Angel, however, has a good deal of soul added to her sound. This album contains mostly original material, written by Hilary Scott, songs that are emotionally engaging. Hilary Scott plays piano, acoustic guitar and ukulele on this release. Joining her are AJ Gennaro on drums and percussion; Josh Schilling on bass, electric guitar and ukulele; Johnny Lee Schell on guitar and mandolin; and Mike Finnigan on organ.
Don’t Call Me Angel opens with its title track, one of the album’s best songs. This is a beautiful song that features some excellent lyrics, such as these lines: “I’ve got more than dust on me/And plenty mistakes to my name.” Those are the lines that immediately stood out and pulled me in. “Don’t call me angel…I never looked good in white.” That’s followed by “Not Used To Being Used To,” which has quite a different feel right from the start with the piano and the finger snaps. There is a lot of soul to Hilary’s vocal performance here, and a joy to her blues. “I’m not used to being used to being treated so well/Honey, you took my hand and led me straight out of hell.” This is a really strong track.
On “Make It Right,” Hilary Scott delivers a gorgeous vocal performance that has an intimate feel at first and then builds from there. Check out these lines: “You know how to make it painless when you hit the ground/You know when it’s just not worth the fight/You know how to do wrong and make it right.” Not bad, eh? This song also features some nice work on keys, and is one of my favorites of the album. “Heartless” also has an intimate vibe and builds to become a powerful song. These are the lines that open this one: “I washed most of my makeup clean/Just a few lipstick stains/And though now it’s just plain old me/A bit of you still remains.” But perhaps my favorite lines are these: “You brought me a paper bouquet/And it won’t die, but the colors will fade.” This track also features more good stuff on keys.
I love the soulful, moving songs on this album, like “Moon And Back,” which begins with piano and vocals, and slowly, beautifully builds from there. “It seems like such a long ride/So can you stop it now.” Oh god, there is something heartbreaking about those lines, particularly as they feel to not be just about a relationship, but about some of the harsher things in life, or life itself. “Sometimes the choices we make/They make it seem there’s no escape/Where would I go anyway?/Just a lonely fall through space.” This song itself takes us on a ride, and ultimately raises our spirits, letting hope and optimism return. That’s followed by “In Time,” which has a pretty folk sound on guitar. “Do you always say there’s tomorrow/Do you always think I’ll change my mind/What if you never get the chance in time.” This one gets its hooks in me immediately. “Did you forget there is no promise/Did you forget love is all we have?” There is something delicate in her delivery at times, something that feels ephemeral, which is so fitting for lines like “’Cause everything in passes in time.”
The album’s sole cover is a rendition of Prince’s “Kiss.” Since Prince’s untimely death in 2016 (the worst year), I’ve heard several folk artists cover this one. Hilary Scott’s version is somewhat mellow, and quite a bit different from other renditions I’ve heard. She changes the lyrics to “You don’t have to be rich/To be my boy/Don’t have to be cool/To bring me joy.” She also changes “You don’t have to watch Dynasty” to “You don’t have to watch bad TV.” A comment on Dynasty, or simply an update for those somehow unfamiliar with that 1980s program? (Though didn’t they recently remake that show for some reason?) The album then concludes with “Here I Am,” another track with a good amount of soul. I love how this one opens with the line “I am a mess.” No hiding there, eh? “I never dreamed you could change my whole world/With a smile and the touch of your hand/You have my heart and you won’t let it go/You know I can’t stop, here I am.””
CD Track List
- Don’t Call Me Angel
- Not Used To Being Used To
- You Will Be Mine
- Make It Right
- Unlove Story
- Moon And Back
- In Time
- Here I Am
Don’t Call Me Angel was released on October 12, 2018 on Belltown Records.