James William Hindle

Town Feeling

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There's something hauntingly odd about the opening track of James William Hindle's Town Feeling. "Dog and Boy" sounds as though it could've been recorded in Britain in the early '70s, as folk-rockers like Richard Thompson and Sandy Denny segued into singer/songwriters. Hindle's mid- to high-vocals exhibit a romantic vulnerability, and the lovely, spacious arrangements -- dominated by pedal steel -- perfectly underpin him. The follow-up song, "Silence," flows more like a pop song, but includes an oddly beautiful trumpet break in the middle (think Robyn Hitchcock meets the Hank Dogs), while the harmony of "Sleeping" reminds one of the Incredible String Band. Hindle's music, however, isn't derivative. He has nonetheless co-opted a classic feel to a number of these songs that runs counter to the current music scene. Who, for instance, would think -- as Hindle does -- that a banjo break would work in the middle of a love song like "Love You and More"? Probably no one, but it works just the same. The album seems to settle into a certain predictable mode by mid-point, and nothing on the album quite reaches the heights of the opener. But Hindle deserves credit for delivering an honest album with fresh arrangements. For Hitchcock and even Donovan fans, Town Feeling recalls the good old days without ever repeating them.

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