Nate Hall is known for being the guitarist, singer and lyricist for USX. As stated in the enclosed biography he had to deal with some demons from his past. As a true artist he used this as a source of inspiration for his first solo effort, entitled “A Great River”. Let’s get down to the river (and pray).
Musically “A Great River” is on the complete opposite of what I usually listen to, but sometimes you come across an album that really resonates with you, regardless of genre or style. “A Great River” is one of those records. Nate Hall clearly knows his Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen classics, however he managed to clearly puts his mark on the music.
Songs like “The Earth In One Cell”, “Dark Star”, “Night Theme” and “Electric Night Theme” are as stripped down as it gets. It’s basically Nate Hall singing and playing along on an acoustic guitar. I’m a sucker for bluesy guitar licks and slide guitar and there’s plenty to enjoy on “A Great River”. Those parts aren’t used in a conventional setting, but they’re used to create a certain atmosphere. The nightmarish feel of this album is further strengthened by Nate’s trademark vocal style. He doesn’t possess the most powerful or versatile pipes on this planet, but he gets the job done in the best Tom Petty and Bob Dylan tradition. Also pay attention to the very stunning rendition of Townes Van Zandt’s “Kathleen”. I’m not a big fan of covers, but in this case it works very well within the musical context of this album.
The production chores of “A Great River” are skillfully handled by Tennessee-based Travis Kammeyer. He gave the album a very open and stripped down sound, which enhances the sense of urgency and the blunt honesty of Nate Hall’s music.
I’m a fervent metal head by trade, but I can certainly appreciate these kind of musical effusions. Sometimes I wish all nightmares sound so good as Nate Hall’s “A Great River”. Stunning album!