Album Review | Rootsy Music | Review by Marc Higgins | Stars: 4/5
Hannah Aldridge is Muscle Shoals born and raised, daughter of Walt Aldridge acclaimed songwriter, musician and producer at Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals. Clearly steeped in musical heritage, a sense of place and a life well lived her music oozes with quality and power. “Don’t leave me like this I might explode” Hannah sings on “Aftermath”. “I’ve got a fever, been wearing me out” opens “Lace”. There is an intensity, a real sense of a human cost of singing these songs, such is Hannah’s delivery. Gold Rush is Hannah’s second album, a huge slab of sound, rich in that humid Southern Rock that crackles and snarls from the speakers. Aftermath sets up Aldridge as a survivor who has walked the walk ‘born in a crossfire’, over a huge, drum beat and some stabbing electric guitar the lyrics are fired out with vim and fire. ‘I did not come here to be fragile’ what doesn’t kill you definitely makes you stronger and comes out as couplets of bullets and barbs through the writing. This is music to whirl round a wooden floored road house to. The valve warm beautifully retro sound of a voice crooned into an old microphone over some raw rock and roll guitar continues with “Dark Hearted Woman” another huge sounding song that manages to blend music that can be both tender and then as hot as a glowing brand. The huge chorus of voices on “Burning Down Birmingham” cools it down a little, but the whole track still smoulders with gospel tension and atmosphere. Hannah Aldridge’s voice shines through on this track, both solo or carried on the backing chorus she really delivers. “The Irony of Love” wraps Aldridge’s emotional voice in acoustic guitar and atmospherics, slow burn building intensity through this superb track. “No Heart Left Behind” and “Living on Lonely” marry a dirty Southern Rock with some glorious vocal harmonies and a huge drum sound that wouldn’t sound out of place on Rumours by the transatlantic incarnation of Fleetwood Mac. Simply stunning. Listen to the last minute of “Living on Lonely” for a lesson in atmosphere menace and suspense delivered by the guitar and rhythm section. “Lace” is a huge maelstrom of a track, the opening acoustic guitar is set alight by some cathedral sized electric guitar chords while Aldridge whispers, croons and finally roars a song of biblical proportion. Carried by a celestial backing chorus Hannah’s vocal assumes hurricane proportion carried on waves of distortion. “Gold Rush” with a perfectly taught vocal, resonant acoustic and washes of pedal steel is an emotional calm after the storm. Another slow burner with a beautifully bitter sweet lyric. Recommended turned up loud through some big speakers to fill the room and fill your life. Part Southern Country Rock Belter, part Fleetwood Mac California intelligent Rock, part taut Tom Petty swagger but all killer.