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MP3 Adam Hill - Four Shades of Green

New-timey folk from Portland, Oregon. These are no-picking bluegrass songs that are as subtle as they are significant and as detached as they are personal.

13 MP3 Songs
FOLK: Progressive Folk, COUNTRY: Americana

“Think of a slightly inebriated Chris Thile of Nickel Creek. Now place that newest mental creation leading the charge of the old labor movement and diggin’ simple folk next to Seeger....His swaggering vocals stagger, swing, and jaunt through each tune with marvelous result.”
– Jake Nuckolls
August 24, 2007

The penning of the tunes on Four Shades of Green began more than a year ago, while Adam was hiding up in the hills of Central Oregon, daylighting as an orchestra teacher. But the documenting of the tunes didn''t begin until he had retreated from his mountain retreat and moved to Portland last fall. Upon his arrival to town, he was quickly snagged and kept busy as a bassist touring with Taarka and Rogue Motel, and sitting in and freelancing with a slew of others. But in the long, slow, drippy days of mid-winter he found himself barricaded in a back bedroom amidst a mass of instruments putting down the tracks for what would become Four Shades of Green.

Four Shades of Green is a recording that showcases Adam''s compositional prowess and sensible arrangements paired with clever and playful lyrics more than his virutosic upright bass playing. The tunes are short and sweet, and though not always terribly simple, they draw upon enough heritage of American folk music to be familiar. Combined with a modern approach, the rootsy element morphs into a new-timey sound for post-post-modern times.

From it''s first notes of a old-timey fiddle scratching out an ancient gospel number to it subsequent smokin'' guitar picking and clunky banjo plunking, Adam performs all the instruments and vocals on the recording. Uplifting trumpet and trombone make an appearance on the northwestern anthem, “Portland Winter Blues,” and haunting string effects and vocal production take the murder ballad, “Banks of the Ohio,” to the otherworld. The one exception to the solitary display is the presence of an eleven piece choir that complements the sing-along spiritual, “Beulahland.” The choir also reappears on the last track, which is the fourth in a series of soundscape interpretations of the popular gospel tune, “Down in the Valley.”

Full of tunes that get stuck in your head the first time and lyrics that you might want to hear twice, Four Shades of Green is an album that tells old stories in modern times. It takes a step forward in progressing the traditions of folk music in a fresh way while maintaining an acoustic element that sometimes gets lost in the ones and zeros of these days.

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