No Depression, May 9, 2013
From the earthy opening fiddle strains on White Swan to the final song's sweet homage to Appalachian singer-songwriter Jean Ritchie, it's clear this is not an album to listen to once and put away. Susie Glaze and The Hilonesome Band have made an album that is a ride through a wide range of Americana meadows and valleys. From skilled instrumentation bluegrass jams, Appalachian vocals, sweet high lonesome harmonies and old-time folk influences, White Swan sings with the richness of a tapestry of American music that weaves together each genre through song-craft, clear production and authentic performance in such a seamless way, it feels like we're hearing just one genre; great American music. Glaze and company, including her husband/arranger, Steve Rankin and songwriter, Rob Carlson, have accomplished a rare thing for a form of music, which too often attempts to cross genres and sometimes looses the essence of any particular form. Rather, they have crafted an album of songs that honors these diverse origins while gently allowing the arrangements, instrumentation and performances to enhance the songs in subtle ways that raises them to a new level, realizing each track's potential in a new and original way.
Susie Glaze & The Hilonesome Band: White Swan
Susie Glaze & the Hilonesome Band continue to hone and refine their brand of rootsy Americana on their very appealing new album, White Swan. Alison Krauss and Union Station remain the most obvious reference point for this troupe which comprises Glaze on lead vocals, guitars and mountain dulcimer; Rob Carlson on guitar; Steve Rankin on mandolin and bouzouki; Mark Indicator on fiddle; and Fred Sanders on bass. But with White Swan, the band have broadened their bluegrass sound to encompass folky Celtic elements, and the results stand up well alongside the best of AKUS
Susie Glaze & The Hilonesome Band – White Swan
Posted on March 5, 2013 by Dan Harr
by Janet Goodman
“The net has been cast wide,” says Susie Glaze of Susie Glaze & The Hilonesome Band, referring to the range of influences on their latest collaboration, “White Swan.” The West Coast quintet’s eleven-track project reflects a love for bluegrass, folk and Celtic music, with five originals written by various configurations of the band, plus well-picked covers by the likes of masters, such as Steve Earle (“Me And The Eagle”) and James Taylor (“Mill Worker”).
These artists have a performance chemistry that works, with tight arrangements of fiddle, mandolin, guitar and upright bass, and Glaze’s authentic Appalachian voice – by way of Southern California – is icing on their musical confection. The Ernest Troost song, “Evangeline,” allows her an opportunity to show more ache and tenderness in her confident holler style, and she sings in downright shades of Sandy Denny (Fairport Convention, Fotheringay) on the dulcimer-and-fiddle traditional English/Irish folk ballad “Fair Ellender.”
Glaze has a hand in penning “The Dark Eileen,” with its flowery recitation start, and her softer-side delivery glides over the Emerald Isle-inspired hills and valleys of its melody. The title track is where the band lives up to its high-lonesome moniker, and Jean Ritchie’s “The Soldier” closes out the set with a haunting Irish drone. SGTHB give listeners a fresh take on tradition.
Volume 37/Number 74, January 14, 2013, MIDWEST RECORD, Lake Zurich, IL.
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2013 Midwest Record
SUSIE GLAZE & THE HILONESOME BAND/White Swan: Glaze and company have done a wonderful job of charming us in the past but now it seems like her recent vintage live set was to clear the palette before the next stage was set. A bluegrass crew that could easily stand toe to toe with Union Station, this crew has elected to widen the lens and take newgrass into the wide open mixing in Celtic, folk, roots, Americana and a full range of indigenous sounds that blend into a wonderful down home, home grown stew. Boldly powering their way down their own new cut road, if you haven't had the chance to enjoy the Glaze sound yet, this is the place to jump in to be totally blown away. This is the perfect record for anyone that's ever wondered what the big deal about roots/Americana is to find out what‘s what. Killer stuff.
"White Swan" - Susie Glaze & The Hilonesome Band - inspiration of tradition and charisma of contemporary (January 23, 2013)
Reviewer: Tim Carroll
I’ve said it before, ‘new is easy different is hard’ – many artists achieve the former, some the latter, few manage both. Well here’s one that falls into the ‘achieved both’ category. Susie Glaze & The Hilonesome Band have with ‘White Swan’ blended unadulterated Americana folk from a mix of influences – poetic narrative, a soupcon of bluegrass, a touch of mountain-muse and pure invention to create a folk-fusion of that’s both steeped in tradition and fresh as the sunrise. In the process they’ve enhanced songs from James Taylor, Ernest Troost, Steve Earle and Jean Ritchie and a well-travelled 16th century ballad, plus fashioned five Hilonesome Band originals.
As well as some outstanding musicianship there’s Susie’s crystal clear voice, plus some charismatic harmony vocals - from an inspired version of James Taylor’s heart-rending ‘Mill Worker’ augmented with a precisely-placed fiddle intro of Turlough O'Carolan’s ‘Si Bheag, Si Mhor’, through Susie’s painfully emotive vocal on Ernest Troost’s dark narrative ‘Evangeline’ to a stunningly haunting version of ‘Me And The Eagle’ with Steve Rankin’s voice hitting the theme to perfection. There’s a fine slice of interpreted tradition represented by ‘Fair Ellender’ - severally known as ‘Lord Thomas and Fair Ellender’, ‘The Brown Girl’ and ‘Fair Eleanor’ among other titles, through England, Ireland, Scotland and the USA.
‘White Swan’ blends the inspiration of tradition with the charisma of contemporary - and does it faultlessly.
The original songs primarily penned by Rob Carlson with some co-writing from other band members, include ‘White Swan’ a virtuoso take on the time-honoured tragedy of mistaken identity, ‘The Dark Eileen’ a profoundly moving lament, made all the more poignant by Susie speaking the opening lines. And for pure, touching reminesence there’s Fred Sanders’ ‘Rocking in Your Granddaddy’s Chair’ - perfectly embellished by Mark Indictor’s fiddle cuts. Without running down the entire track list, in addition to those listed above, other standout tracks for me are ‘Harlan County Boys’ and Jean Ritchie’s ‘The Soldier’.
Joining Susie (acoustic guitar, mountain dulcimer, lead and harmony vocals) are Steve Rankin (mandolin, bouzouki, acoustic guitar, harmony vocals) Rob Carlson (acoustic lead guitar, resonator guitar, harmony vocals) Mark Indictor (fiddle, harmony vocals) and Fred Sanders (bass, harmony vocals).
If you love your folk from these ‘island shores’ or the other side of ‘the pond’ this album will become one of your favourites. The album release concert for 'White Swan' is at McCabe's Guitar Shop in Santa Monica on Sunday, 3 March at 7 pm ... and were I in that part of the world I would be there.