CD Review: Songs By Rachel Harvey Hill Vol. 1

Posted: June 28, 2016 in Music
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Rachel Harvey Hill is a singer-songwriter from Kentucky. It was during her time as a military wife that Hill picked up the guitar and start writing music. Some of the material written by Hill has to do with being apart from the husband as he serves his country in the military. Other points of influence happen to be life and everything that happens within it.

It was back in 2014 that Rachel Harvey Hill contributed to a recording project known as Operation Encore, a project that features military personnel, ex-military personnel and spouses of those currently enlisted. For the 2014 release of Operation Encore: A Veteran Music Project, Hill contributed the song “Another Trip Around the Sun,” a track about living with someone who is involved with the military. The track is one of the strongest tracks to be featured on the release. While Rachel is currently working on a new CD featuring her own music, a singer-songwriter album featuring Hill’s songs recorded by other artists is currently available. The album is simply titled Songs by Rachel Harvey Hill Vol. 1.

Songs by Rachel Harvey Hill Vol. 1 features three talented musicians who helped bring the music on the album to life. The featured musicians are: Josh Coffee on fiddle, mandolin and banjo; Eddie Dunlap on steel guitar and Kyle Howard on piano. Together with Rachel Harvey Hill and her guitar, these three musicians are responsible for giving each track its unique personality. While the musicians shape the music of the tracks, several singers helped to complete the tracks on the album. The featured singers for the project are: Tim Harvey (Rachel’s brother), April Jewell, Josh Mills, Trevor Turner and Lane Davis, along with Rachel Harvey Hill herself who sings on three tracks of the album.

The album of Songs by Rachel Harvey Hill Vol. 1 begins with the track “Blue Kentucky Moon”. The country-based track features a very commercial feel to the music. The duet by Tim Harvey and April Jewell creates a very happy track to start off the release. The resulting track would feel right at home on any modern-day Country radio format. April Jewell takes a solo turn on the next track of “Loved Like That”.

While the previous track features a rather happy approach to the lyrics, Rachel Harvey Hill changes the mood on “Loved Like That,” a track about a child going through several stages of her life longing for the fairytale ending. Jewell takes the lyrics of the song and handles them with grace while the piano from Kyle Howard adds just the right amount of emotion to the music. At the same time, the orchestration on the track is as professional as any major label release. The resulting track would be perfect for an artist like Amy Grant who is known for singing songs that contain the type of message contained within this song. Like “Blue Kentucky Moon” before it, “Loved Like That” is another track that should be a single, though it would best fit on a Christian music radio format.

Another song that stands out on the album of Songs by Rachel Harvey Hill Vol. 1 is “Wrong Side of the Street”. Unlike “Loved Like That” that features a completely orchestrated feel to the music, “Wrong Side of the Street” features a more simplistic approach with only an acoustic guitar, a piano and an organ creating the music. That simplistic musical feel is the perfect background for the duet created by Trevor Turner and Lane Davis. The resulting track feels like a pop song that might feature the likes of someone like John Mayer and Gwen Stefani. The track is easily as strong as anything on the radio today. While the album features other people doing songs written by Rachel Harvey Hill, Hill herself does appear on the album. In fact, she performs three songs on the release. One track that needs to be heard is the song “I’m Here, You’re There”. With a minimalistic musical makeup of just one guitar, a piano and a bass viol, the track features a slow, easy tempo with a simplistic quality to the music. That gentle music lends itself well to the lyrics about missing someone.

Rachel Harvey Hill’s current release comes to an end with the one track that will definitely find its way onto another release. “I’m Going Home” is the track that Hill has written to be included on the next Operation Encore album, Operation Encore: A Veteran Music Project Vol. 2. Written on the day that Hill learned she would be heading back to the United States after spending time over in Korea, “I’m Going Home” is an upbeat track that makes the listener happy for her and her family as well as others who go through the same thing every day.

Songs by Rachel Harvey Hill Vol. 1, the songwriter album from Rachel Harvey Hill, isn’t so much about the performing talents from the songwriter as it is about her songwriting itself. And since many of the moments contained within the nearly 40 minutes of music could easily be used as singles on radio station formats throughout the country, the album as a whole does an excellent job of showcasing that songwriting talent. While there is a true album of music in the works from Rachel Harvey Hill, this release is an excellent place to familiarize yourself with her before she hits the big time.

To hear just a little of the music from Rachel Harvey Hill, check out the video to the song “Loved Like That“. 

Check out the Operation Encore organization by clicking on this link.

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Comments
  1. […] more reading about Operation Encore, check out the review for the first album, the review for Rachel Harvey Hill, the review for Andrew Wiscombe and the review of Steve D. […]

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