Combining beautifully crafted originals with a handful of well-chosen covers, Bill Staines' 22nd album is rife with the kind of warm vocals and endearing tales that we've come to respect from the folk master. Staines has always been the author of songs that quickly grow on his listeners, and tracks like "Old City Jail" with themes of hard labor, trains, and prison life give it a quality that makes it seem much older than it actually is, the delicate "Dear Friend," and the poignant "When I Hear the Music Play" are all welcome additions to the Staines canon. The mandolin and fiddle on the cover of Guy Clark's "Virginia's Reel," the excellent vocal contributions by Jeanie Stahl on the Carter Family classic "Gold Watch and Chain," and the violin and fiddle of the traditional gospel tune "All Things Bright and Beautiful" fit perfectly beside the new Staines compositions. In the end, October's Hill is a work of endearing songcraft and lyrical depth that can only be the product of a longtime master of the genre.
AllMusic Review by Matt Fink