***and1/2 out of *****
Having three solid songwriters in the mix certainly helps as guitarists Norman Blake and Raymond McGinley and bassist Gerard Love all contribute evenly to Here but in a cohesive pattern that feels like a full band effort.
The opening trifecta plays gloriously touching on older reference points but also remains alive in the now. "I'm In Love" is the best of the bunch with its direct honesty over earnestness; the statement is fact almost as if it is being sung to the singer alone, confirming the obvious. "Thin Air" pumps up the jangle and touches Byrds like lairs (a reoccurring motif) while "Hold On" starts in a Neil Young vibe, but takes a more rhythmic approach to matters.
"The Darkest Part Of The Night" shows the clear Roger McGuinn influence and some sweet harmonies while "Nothing More To Say" swirls electric, eclectic and mellow. "The First Sight" brings in horns successfully while "It's A Sight" keeps that mellow vibe rolling and adds some cutting electric guitar lines. If there is a detriment to the album is that nothing is hidden; this is clear direct sweet pop rock. Even the downers never get to down and lyrically these roads have been trampled over many many times.
That doesn't matter much though when the disk is this easy going. A slow roller like "With You" bleeds nicely into the end statement of "Connected To Life" which is the most dramatic of the bunch letting the soundscapes broaden. Perhaps it is just the end of summer/start of fall release date, but Here certainly hits a sweet spot of pop purity.
Kind of surprised how much we liked this record. Nothing earth shattering just good stuff all around. Support the group, buy the album, (you can still stream it for a day or two) and peep some video: