Hannah Aldridge

Hannah Aldridge – Gold Rush (Rootsy Music)

When I first played this album, after three tracks I was moved to send an email to the relevant PR, to tell them how much I loved it. You see, this is the problem with being hasty…I really ought to have waited until I’d played the whole damn thing…

That’s not to diminish the talent of feisty Muscle Shoals musician Hannah Aldridge, for she is quite blatantly a very astute songwriter, but the problem is, I had my media player on random select when I played her second album, Gold Rush, for the first time, and in a cruel twist of fate, said device spoiled me by choosing the best three tracks on it from the off.

The classiest of these trio of tunes is probably the second one in, ‘Dark Hearted Woman‘, which you can quite easily imagine Imelda May belting out on her spellbinding recent album ‘Life. Love. Flesh. Blood‘, but much of the time you get the impression that she’s been piggy-backed around the living room in her formative years by her father Walt (a highly respected musician and songwriter in his own right) while Fleetwood Mac blare from the family stereo. Stevie Nicks era Mac is all over songs like ‘Aftermath‘ and ‘Living On Lonely‘, but occasionally it drifts worryingly close to sounding like The Corrs. Not that I have anything against the latter, wholesome family band, but come on, if you open the biscuit tin, nobody really chooses the digestives, do they? And frankly, this put me off a bit. Sorry, that was a bit Eric Cantona, wasn’t it?

Recent single ‘No Heart Left Behind‘ is more of a rocker, with blatant nods to Bruce Springsteen both lyrically and musically. The line “This town is a wasteland, so put the fuse onto the spark” could have been written by New Jersey’s favourite son at any time between 1973 to 1984, or let’s face it, by throwing bits of paper in the air with random Boss-words on them and just using what came down.

Beyond that, I’ll level with you – I’m struggling a bit here. It’s all very pleasant from a toe-tapping perspective, and yes, you can imagine wind machines being used unsparingly in Hannah’s videos, for her compositions often possess that ‘breezy’ quality, but then that in turn is all shot down in flames with the rather sordid sounding penultimate track, which comes across rather like a murder ballad, but contains lyrics such as “Well I like my whisky how I like my men – right on the tip of my tongue.” Now, admittedly, this could just as easily be a sweet line about kissing but somehow I doubt it. I mean come on, what ARE you, Hannah Aldridge? A good, virtuous girl, a tortured soul or a bold, brazen hussy? Make your damn mind up. And then maybe, just maybe, I’ll be able to make up mine too…

Gold Rush is out now on Rootsy Music.

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.