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Hillfolk Noir Hillfolk Noir
Album: Junkerpunch
Label: Self Released
Tracks: 17

Idaho's Hillfolk Noir's latest album is a refreshing and relaxed record. Proudly recorded to 1/2'' tape and not fiddled around with computers until the mastering stage, the album has a rustic feel which is easier said than done to create such authenticity.

Opening track 'Dead Maud' punches in as a two and a half minute opener where a saw is bowed and becomes a bit of a focus for other songs on the record where Banjo and Guitar blend with ease in the delicate mix. 'Junkerpunch' also nods to the traditions of picking up songs and spreading the word as songs like 'Crow Jane', 'Forgive Me Please', 'Bushy Folk of John's Creek' 'Run Mountain', 'Hallelujah, I'm a Bum' and 'Shanty Blues' credit the songs as songs being picked up from various musicians.

Whilst the Guitar, Double Bass and Banjo take the immediate lead on this record, the harmonies, saw and jaw's harp add textures to this record to keep this 17 track record interesting. As shown in 'Forgive Me Please' where the saw creates an eerie atmosphere behind this reflective 'solo' ballad of guitar and vocals. What also neatly breaks up this album are two rather light but forgetful instrumentals.

Showing the dexterity of the band's recording knowhow is the 'Rockabilly Mix' of 'Run Mountain' with the vocals with added reverb, the trademark 'shaky' vocals and picked electric Guitar.

Overall 'Junkerpunch' is a entertaining album which sounds as authentic as they come. If there is a flaw in the album, a lot of the songs are one-dimensional in being sung from personal perspective which would have taken the album to another place if taken from this context. Chief songwriter Travis Ward lives and breathes the traditions and keeps them alive with aplomb. This is definitely a band who feel relaxed in the analogue recording setting and if authenticity is your bag with a little bit of a modern twist of Punk attitude, Hillfolk Noir might just be your tipple.

Johnny Campbell