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MP3 Hilary Sloan - Images From Hard Luck Town

Progressive socially-conscious bluegrass & old-school country

9 MP3 Songs
COUNTRY: Bluegrass, FOLK: Political

Hilary Sloan''s music is Socially conscious, progressive bluegrass and old-school country - Urban-inspired, rural laments of the working class.

Hilary is a Houston based violinist with Classical and bluegrass background. She began playing at a very early age and performed in the church. Hilary was a part of the Bluegrass Festival Circuit throughout the 1990’s and played Houston’s club circuit with her band Aunt Erma’s Fillin Station.

Hilary also performs solo w/ guitar and extended free fiddle improvisation, incorporating elements of bluegrass, celtic, classical, and blues. Original compositions ranging from bluegrass, indie, pop, swing, depression-evoking country-Songs of people and places, love and life.

Hilary Sloan “Images form Hard Luck Town” is a story of a Hard Luck Man driven to the life of a soldier who returns home to find all that he knew was destroyed.

“Images from Hard Luck Town” is a project years in the making – the songs first being written around the time war was declared on Iraq by the U.S. Recorded in front of a live audience days before Katrina hit the Gulf Coast @ Northwoods Unitarian Universalist Church w/ Marco Saenz portable digital studio.


March 28, 2007, 4:16PM
Hilary Sloan
Hilary Sloan''s music with a message

For The Chronicle

Hilary Sloan says she felt "a responsibility" to write and record Hard Luck Town, a gorgeous collection of bluegrass, country and acoustic peace songs.

The South Carolina native started Suzuki violin lessons at age 4 and has lived in Houston since she was 10. Music has always been her lifeblood, and it — along with current events — shaped her direction.

"There is so much socially conscious in the music that I grew up with, but it''s not being expressed on country radio," Sloan says. "There''s really a need for people from a rural, Southern background to say, ''These things are happening. They''re not OK, and I don''t accept them.'' "

Sloan began writing Hard Luck Town around the beginning of the Iraq War. It wasn''t a coincidence. The tunes touch on poverty, societal pressures and a country at odds with the rest of the world. There are also "urban-inspired, rural laments of the working class."

"It''s progressive, socially conscious bluegrass-country," Sloan says. "It''s really an expression of a lot of things that I''ve been feeling for a long time. Frustrations with things that are going on in the world."

Once assembled, the songs took the form of a concept album. Hard Luck Town, then, is the story of a soldier who returns home to find the life he used to know destroyed.

The disc includes seven of Sloan''s original tunes, a solo fiddle take on Nina Simone''s Images and the tumultuous Midnight on the Stormy Deep, famously sung by Bill Monroe.

"The story line emerged . . . whether I was really wanting it to or not," Sloan says.

"It just adds another dimension. You can enjoy the album in a different way because you have this character to imagine doing these things."

Hard Luck Town was recorded at Northwoods Unitarian Universalist Church in The Woodlands. The disc was produced by Marco Saenz and features bassist Ben Collis, guitarist Randy Lindley and drummer Chris King.

An audience of family and friends attended the recording, but you won''t hear their approving applause on the disc.

"It has that live sound, that live feel, that live energy. But it doesn''t have the clapping and the normal things you have a lot in live shows," Sloan says.

Every one of Hard Luck Town''s stellar tracks rings with urgency and emotion. If We''re All the Same is a clever call for equality, and Some Things They Can''t Take Away is a tear-stained waltz that urges listeners to remember life''s treasures.

The haunting Rachel Corrie is dedicated to the American peace activist who was crushed by an Israeli army bulldozer in March 2003. Corrie, a member of the International Solidarity Movement, was trying to prevent the vehicle from destroying the home of a doctor in the Rafah refugee camp.

"She has affected me deeply," says Sloan, who managed to get a copy of the song to Corrie''s family.

In the end, Sloan is optimistic that her Hard Luck journey will have a positive effect on all listeners.

"It calms me down, which I hope it does for other people, too," she says. "It makes me feel like, ''Yeah, things are happening, but it''s OK.'' "

• Podcast: Listen to Joey Guerra''s interview with Sloan, Nick Gaitan and Patrick Wheeler along with clips from the new album..
• More information: https://www.tradebit.com''s Houston band database


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