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Surrender Hill Surrender Hill
Album: Right Here Right Now
Label: Surrender Hill
Tracks: 14

Comprising South African Robin Dean Salmon and Alaska-born Afton Seekins, having formed in Arizona and now variously based in Atlanta and Nashville, following 2015's eponymous debut, Surrender Hill make a swift return with 'Right Here Right Now', a packed collection of close harmony acoustic Americana and country rock, their keening voices ably complemented by Mike Daly on pedal steel.

The mid-tempo 'Pouring Rainbow' sets the ball rolling and pretty much sets the template for what follows, Seekins taking over the lead from Salmon on 'Big Mamma Big Daddy', a song about parental ambitions for their kids. There's nothing overly deep about the lyrics, mostly revolving around the ups and downs of relationships, dreams sought or lost and, but then not every album has to set the world to rights or get into existential musings.

Love's pledge, 'I'll Never Let Go' gives rise to the title line, the desert-mood waltzing 'Run Away With Me' is about what it says, as are Salmon's heartbreak confessional ballad 'To Be A Man' and the more upbeat, organ-backed, twangsome 'Girl In My Heart'. On the other hand, the Seekins' sung slow swaying 'Empty Bottle of Dreams' is less about drowning in despair and more about working towards the positive and the Guy Clarke-echoing 'God Don't Let The Road Disappear' talks of how hitting the blacktop hard can keep you alive when the world around may be crumbling or demons drive you.

Although 'California' sports some ringing guitars and power chords and closing track 'Enemy Inside of Me' has a bluesy, gospel groove, the album mostly keeps things on an even, steady tempo keel and, if nothing individually grabs you by the lapels and pins you to the wall, the sum total makes for undeniably absorbing listening.

Mike Davies