“The Gin Mill Hymns is a real treasure for lots of reasons, but the main one is that it’s so refreshing to know that music such as this still can be made these days and that it will continue to be made in the future.”
Artist: Chris Beall
Album: The Gin Mill Hymns
Genre: Americana / Folk Rock
RIYL: Tom Petty, Charlie Sexton, Ryan Adams
For fans of Americana, country rock and blues I highly suggested engrossing yourselves in this sophomore album from Chris Beall, titled The Gin Mill Hymns. Each and every song is a winner, which is no small task.
There are eight songs featured here on The Gin Mill Hymns (along with a bonus track), and each song has arrangements/singing/playing and lyrics that make it a first-class affair. Beall is a singer/songwriter from Texas and his songs seem quite personal which makes them all the more captivating.
Musically speaking, there are elements of blues, country, gospel, rock and folk all weaving their way through the songs. Beall also has an excellent voice to provide each song with character. This is apparent on tunes such as “Half A World Away,” “The Road Less Travelled,” “Summer Days” and “Most Of The Time.” Creative influences seem to stem from the likes of Tom Petty (Beall really sounds like Petty quite often), Bob Dylan, Mark Knopfler, Ryan Adams and Wilco. Acoustic and electric guitars are prominent on each track, and the playing is high quality, showing exemplary restraint. The musical arrangements really suit the songs well and it’s obvious attention was given to that area.
The snappy acoustic-based pop of “Laura Lynn” and the warmth of “Summer Days” have mass appeal, while the swampy sounds of “Make A Livin’ ” and the folk/gospel/blues of “Spike Driver Blues” are the polar opposite of the aforementioned lighter tunes. The latter are right on the money and as memorable as any of the hooks on those catchier melodies. This shows diversity without sacrificing the distinct sound that Beall has mastered.
Lyrically, this album is very strong especially on tracks such as “Most Of The Time” and “Dug Down Deep”. The latter is a song of determination and reflection dealing with Beall’s father’s debilitating motorcycle crash back in the early 1970s (his father was a motorcycle racer). “Most Of The Time” has a great set of lyrical lines such as, “So I put in my hours, sometimes count the days ‘til this feeling goes away,” which is simple but well spoken.
The Gin Mill Hymns is a real treasure for lots of reasons, but the main one is that it’s so refreshing to know that music such as this still can be made these days and that it will continue to be made in the future. Chris Beall and the musicians that performed on the album should be proud of what they have produced.
Chris Beall website: http://chrisbeallmusic.com/