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Rebecca Hall | Sings! (Listen Here! Records)
I first encountered Rebecca Hall in one of those 'right place, right time' scenarios, as a previously unheard of support to Tandy. This took place at the splendid ComeDown MeetTheFolks, a free, weekly Sunday afternoon session at The Golden Lion pub, Camden, devoted to all things country. As strange and wrinkled Cockney males attempted to sell me socks and sleeveless Wolfsbane CD's, Rebecca Hall's band quietly set up, visibly nervous at the prospect of their London debut in such odd circumstances, the sun streaming through the windows to provide the light show. After fending off the drunken hawkers, I settled back to listen. Within twenty minutes, I had visited a Greenwich Village folk club in 1964, a Virginian mountain shack porch and a Tennessee speakeasy, transported by the purity and simplicity of Rebecca Hall's glorious and haunting traditional American sound. Later, I contemplated the benefits of the appreciation of the contemporary take on country music (I'm kinda big on 'alt,' as regular readers may have gleaned), in that I have taken great pleasure in tracing the lineage back - discovering or re-evaluating names and sounds previously dismissed as fluffy and of little emotional validity to me. But such is education, in any area of life. You see, there is absolutely nothing alternative about Rebecca Hall's music, but she is fortunate enough to possess a pure voice of gentle power that, quite simply, carries a tune. It's one of those voices that naturally captivates, commanding attention, but free of gymnastics and trimmings. 'Sings!' then, despite previous heavy usage, is as apt a title as you could dream up for this debut release. A collection of ten impeccably performed, dreamy folk and country ditties (seven originals and three traditional), it is easy to be seduced by such charm, particularly when it is channelled through a set of pipes somewhere between Sandy Denny and Karen Carpenter. Backed only by violin, occasional viola, cello, tambourine and harmonica, Hall pulls off a number of shy showstoppers in Man of Poor Fortune, the jaunty gospel of The Other Side and the icy Winter Is Gone. Short and very sweet, there is little else to say about Sings! other than that an airing would enhance any life. Get back to the country, as the great man said. For a copy and further information, contact Rebecca Hall at Listen Here! Records, P.O. Box 2343, Grand Central Station, New York, NY, 10163, USA.

Tom Sheriff
November 2001