February 14, 2011
Review: Jezz Hall – ‘Silhouette Man’
Jezz Hall – Silhouette Man
Nottingham’s Jezz Hall returns with his first album since 2006’s When the Music is Over. Silhouette Man continues with the country-tinged introspective folk of its predecessor, and finds Hall teaming up with Folkwit Records: a local imprint with many a kindred spirit on its books. With a new band in tow – one that includes the rhythm section of Andy Hill (bass) and Tom Dempsey (drums) alongside fiddle/mandolin player Nick Acons – Hall’s James Taylor-esque vocals weave patterns around modern day folk ballads in a style similar to that of recent work by Jackie Leven – indeed Hall has previously supported the celebrated Scot on tour.
Opener Solid Ground is an immediate demonstration of the talent involved here. Hall’s song writing craft shines through the delicate touches of Acons’ fiddle and Hill’s subtle electric guitar flourishes, and lines such as “we shed our precious skin/but fool ourselves we’re growing” show he has a serious way with a lyric. The gentle lilt of House is another early highlight, one augmented by a beautiful string arrangement from Acons. Beautiful City’s forlorn blues arrangement is ripped wide open by blasts from Hall’s harmonica, the influence of his time spent in Mississippi shining through here, as well as on the rockabilly shuffle of Country Blues.
Folkwit seems like the natural home for Hall, and the likes of Will Jeffery and label mate Andy Whittle prove that the Nottingham singer-songwriter scene is currently in a healthy state. Hall may have a slight edge on the competition with this set, however. A most accomplished release.
Find Jezz Hall at http://www.jezzhall.co.uk/
Find Folkwit Records at http://www.folkwit.biz/