by Thomas Bedward November 27, 2020
In the world of modern music, there are few artists more entertaining, enjoyable or enthusiastic than Jerry Hill. A talented singer, songwriter, arranger, pianist, and growing musical legend, Jerry has brought his modern interpretation of the classic Memphis sound to our pages for years, releasing wave after wave of impressive singles, albums, and videos that seamlessly blend rock ‘n’ roll, blues, Americana, pop, and wild ‘60s vibes into a vibrant and wonderfully unique blend.
For his latest release, Jerry has driven straight into the heart of old school rock ‘n’ roll, bringing together seventeen original tracks that all perfectly illustrate his unique style and love of a good story. Titled ‘They’re Looking for Me’, the new record is Jerry at his most poignant and poetic, seamlessly blending heartfelt sentiment with nuanced narratives and his usual keen wit.
Opening with lead single ‘Shout Fire!’, the album launches you into a world of upbeat pop sounds and quirky Blues melodies. It’s a fittingly funky vibe, one that lays the foundation for Jerry’s tale of “a somewhat unstable guy reminiscing about how life used to be with his partner and finding a way to recreate the wheel of their life with a new fresh change’. In Jerry’s own words, the title and soaring choruses refer to “the old cliché” and “acts as an analogy of calling everyone when there is a problem when really there isn’t a problem at all”. It’s an impressive opening gambit and everything we’ve come to expect from Jerry, proving that even on his ninth album he still has plenty of tricks up his sleeve.
Following on from the Memphis anthemics of ‘Shout Fire!’, Jerry launches into full swing, releasing a quickfire trilogy in ‘What In The World’, ‘East of Los Angeles’, and ‘Stranded (Through The Dark)’, three soul-infused singles that shine with a sharp Gospel edge. Leaning on West End style and big, bold production, the singles reference the current pandemic, gangland wars, and murderous misadventures in Tennessee. It’s a diverse slew of themes and sounds, but one that perfectly fits Jerry’s eclectic style and opens up the listener to what is still to come.
As the album continues, the full narrative unfolds, and Jerry revels in hitting you with a quick one-two of colourful imagery and joyous melodies. At every turn, something new finds you, like the orchestral, wonderfully emotive arrangements of ‘When I Look Into Your Eyes’, the deep noir overtones of the title track and ‘1st Precinct’, or even the ‘70s, Bacharach brilliance of ‘All Out of My Head’. It’s a massive amount of sounds, styles, and sweetly sung songs to cover, but one of the true, enduring highlights has to be ‘Fast Lane’. The very first single from the album, ‘Fast Lane’ an unwavering pop-rock romp mixed with a fine blend of that classic Memphis sound. It’s a track that tells the tale of “a man who lives his hillbilly-like life in a decrepit trailer home bored and restless; he and his girlfriend jump into his hot-rod and recklessly hit the highway to escape all their listless boredom of home”. Full of adventure, fun, and a hint of danger, its’s good ol’ fashioned rock and roll, just like we like.
In the past we’ve compared Jerry’s albums to runaway trains and wildfires, drawing attention to the unstoppable and colourful nature of them, and while they were apt at the time, they’ve never fit better than they do with ‘They’re Looking For Me’. A titanic release that is better left heard than picked apart in a review, Jerry’s ninth album is right up there as one of his best. Tune in to the album above via Spotify, and be sure to check out the rest of Jerry's stellar back catalogue.
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