Hilary Scott has been around the block a time or two and obviously knows some things about good music. This is evident by her 9th release, Still. Though her new release is an EP and only has a total of 5 songs, those songs are enough to get you interested in her previous releases. Each song on the album was clearly written with the subject of love in mind. But the predominant focus is not on happy love, necessarily, but on the deeper effects of love instead – such as losing love through death such as in “Still,” through departure such as with “Fighting Odds (Take What You Get)”, or hopes of regaining love such as in “Untitled (So Long)” and “Labor Of Love.”
Scott shows off her vocal talent with “Fighting Odds (Take What You Get).” The guitar, drums, and other instruments serve to create an intricate melody, but are held off just enough in order to make Scott’s voice the song’s main focal point.
“Hallelujah” is Scott’s version of Leonard Cohen’s well-known song. The song can most easily be compared to Jeff Buckley’s version, since the tempo of the two are so similar; the tempo of Scott’s version is perhaps only slowed down half a step more than Buckley’s. By adding drums and electric guitar towards the end, however, she creates more of a rock sound, which draws more similarities to Cohen’s original version. Scott employs Josh Schilling to provide backup vocals to some of the lines as well. Schilling’s vocals are utilized mainly within the chorus and in portions of each verse.
“Labor Of Love” has some decidedly folk and country values about it, but employs various other qualities as well. The song’s chorus contains oddly enjoyable timed out hand claps accompanied by the “ting” of percussions just a moment later. The song is about someone who is certain that love won’t last, but the narrator (Scott) is set on proving them wrong. Scott sings, “. . . You just think I’m gonna leave you behind. We’ve got a problem from the start, then. I’m gonna capture your little heart.”
As the album’s self-titled song, “Still” is expected to stand out from the rest of the album, and Scott does an excellent job of making that happen. First off, the song is softer and a bit more serene than the other four songs. It is also the only outwardly religious song on the EP. In “Still,” Scott confronts the ever-dreaded topic of death. She sings of love, loss, and leaving in a way that evokes emotions of nostalgia, longing, sorrow, and even hope. Scott sings, “And when my soul has had even more than its fill, I can leave this old world knowing you love me still.”
Like many of her other songs, “Untitled (So Long),” has some Jewel-esque qualities about it. Scott’s maturity and prudence shines through in her expressive lyrics. Each instrument picks up emphasis and the song picks up tempo slightly as it continues from beginning to end.
Scott has done well to build up a good reputation for the female music scene. She shows that artists are not limited to merely one genre of music, but that there is instead a whole world of opportunity that can be opened to someone given that they have the right amount of talent. Through both solo projects and previous group projects, Scott has made her way. But she is currently reveling in what should very well be considered the success of her current group project with The New County Line, the duo that is responsible for the drums, bass, electric guitar, percussion, and male vocals found on Still.
Review by Alec Cunningham
Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)