Rural Rhythm

What is not to like about this third release from Feller & Hill? In addition to some of the best harmony singing out there, there’s the rich and resonant lead vocals of Chris Hill, best exemplified on “Atlanta Is Burning,” the moderately-loping “Love Is A Stranger,” and the country stomp of “Be A Good Girl.” Juxtaposed against that is the smoother, slightly higher leads of Tom Feller, who’s at his best on the jaunty “Back In My Baby’s Arms” and on the angst-driven “Lord Help Me Decide.” Also on display is Feller’s multi-instrumentalism, a set of skills that has few boundaries. The good humor of his guitar work on “Jerry’s Breakdown” (a tribute to Jerry Reed) is only part of it. He also tears off some fine mandolin solos, a touch of pedal steel, and some fine bass work.

This album is packed with songs that give Feller & Hill cause to showcase their harmony singing. “Childish Love” from the Louvins, Bob Montgomery’s “Back In My Baby’s Arms,” and a solid cover of “Wake Up Little Susie” should be enough to earn high praise. But then they place those beside the sly, honky-tonk “Be A Good Girl,” the up-tempo trucking song “Hammer Down,” and the Civil War trilogy of Aubrey Holt’s “Atlanta Is Burning,” Judith Feller’s tale of a girl’s humanity tending a wounded prisoner, and Tom Holt’s ode to a missing son, “The Bugler.” The album closes with a second Felice and Boudleaux Bryant tune, “Tennessee Hound Dog,” this one featuring Bobby Osborne and his band.

Guest appearances by Mike Cleveland, Steve Thomas, Glenn Duncan, Glen Gibson, Larry Stephenson, Junior Sisk, Lizzy Long, and Jonathan Rigsby make this, if not the best of the Feller & Hill albums, easily the equal of the first two. (Rural Rhythm, P.O. Box 750, Mt. Juliet, TN 37121, www.ruralrhythm.com.)BW

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