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James William Hindle | Prospect Park (Badman/Track and Field)
The dreaded 'Americana' label was pinned on James William Hindle in almost all reviews for his splendid self-titled 2001 debut. It will probably pop up again this time round, although I'll maintain that his music is more rooted in his native England's folk tradition that American country music. He's toured the US with the likes of Ladybug Transistor and Essex Green, members of both forming the core band for this New York recorded follow up, with more than able assistance from Aden/Currituck County guitar whiz Kevin Barker.
While the first album was immediately satisfying with its beautiful acoustic based sweeping melodies; 'Prospect Park' takes a little longer to leave its mark. More varied in sound and style, the tracks seduce over repeated listens and, once the fog has lifted, 'Prospect Park' reveals itself as more than a worthy successor to 'James William Hindle' and may well have topped that first album, great as it was.
Songs like Come Down Slowly and Leaving Trains have a distinct '70s feel, while Country Song, it's title notwithstanding, comes closest to revealing his English roots. Elsewhere the perfect pop of Shadows Cast A Lie and Hoboken shed any remaining doubts about Hindle's role in any scene. In stark contrast to many of his contemporaries (whoever they may be), Hindle keeps it simple, his unerring gift for melody and poignancy feeling like a walk in the park.
CWAS #12 - Summer 2003