Reviews

Eleven Hundred Springs Releases Here ‘Tis


By Brian Rock

It’s no secret that some of the best kept secrets in Americana come from Texas. Bands like Left Arm Tan, Casey Donahue Band, Micky & The Motorcars, The Vandoliers and many others have amassed legions of devoted fans in their home state and pages of acclaim from music reviewers nationwide, despite being virtually unknown outside the Lone Star State.

Add to this list, Eleven Hundred Springs. With 9 albums under their belt and a Texas-sized following of frenzied fans, they’re still waiting to breakout beyond the panhandle. Hopefully, their tenth studio album, Here ‘Tis, will allow them to do just that.

Beginning with beautiful fiddle and steel guitar strains, the lead track, “This Morning It Was Too Late,” abounds with authentic, weepy Country melodies. Adding well phrased, “tear in my beer” lyrics, they sing, “Daylight crept inside my window like a thief in the cold, gray light of dawn. Somehow without needing to be told, I knew that she was gone.” Although many artists sing of lost love, few do it with this depth of emotional impact. It is a sad story, beautifully told. They return to that high and lonesome sound on the album’s other tear jerker, “The Song You’ll Never Hear.” Lead singer, Matt Hillyer’s tenor-alto voice lends a Vince Gill earnestness to the lyrics as he sings, “Imagine what it sounds like when a heart breaks; or the quiet when love and laugher disappear.”

But, being a road-seasoned Texas band, Eleven Hundred Springs doesn’t wallow in despair. They kick up their heels with the Texas Swing of “Let’s Move Out To The Country.” Bemoaning the congestion and noise of the city, they invite you to join them for a better life in “the country while there’s still some left.” The raucous “Let Me Be Your Man” also channels the spirit of Bob Wills as they sing some of the most unique pick-up lines you’ll ever hear; like, “I don’t have a lot of money. No one thinks my jokes are funny. And I ain’t much to look at honey. But I’ve got a plan. I’ll tell you all about it if you let me be your man.”

“Looking Back,” and “All Jokes Aside” add a touch of Honky-Tonk as they recount the joys of life on the road and the life long bonds forged there. The fiddle-driven, “Let Tomorrow Wait And See,” is a call for calm in a turbulent relationship. The uptempo rhythm implies hope as they sing, “I know the storm is gonna pass. It’ll all blow over like the last one.” Like the opening song, and throughout most of the album, the interplay of fiddle and steel guitar on this song is absolutely irresistible.

In a sane world, the musical tastemakers would be based in Austin and Fort Worth instead of New York and Los Angeles; and you would have already heard of Eleven Hundred Springs. But if you haven’t heard their distinctive mix of Honky-Tonk, Texas Swing, and Country ballads; you’re in luck, because “Here “Tis!”

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Brian Rock

Brian Rock

Brian was raised gypsy style, moving every other year until well after college. As friendships proved to be temporary, Brian found a constant companion in music, wearing the grooves off Beatles and Dylan albums before moving on to Lyle Lovett and Dwight Yokam. Living so often in flux, he has come to value music and lyrics of lasting quality. Not moved by trends or fashion, he is drawn to timeless lyrics and soulful rhythms. Although now settled down, Brian still expresses his gypsy spirit through his writing. He has co-written songs with musician friends he’s met along the way, including several contributions to the 2012 ICMA Album of the Year, Family Album. Brian also writes children’s books and poems, including the Children’s Book Council featured title, The Deductive Detective.
Brian Rock

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