• Review

Young Heirlooms: The Hammer

The Young Heirlooms are releasing a new album tonight called The Hammer. I agreed to do this review three weeks ago, so the day before it comes out should be the ideal time to get started on it, right? Uh… sorry, Young Heirlooms. I’ll get on this right away. In the interest of time, I will play the album for the first time on my lunch break and write out my reactions as I listen.

Okay, here we go. It’s noon and I’ll start with track one: “Silverglade”. Perfect - let’s start out with a song about working. “I wake early in the morning, early in the morning, breaking bones for bread. I work while everybody’s sleeping, everybody’s sleeping at home in their beds.” Breaking bones for bread. Oh damn, that’s a good line. And the harmonies! The chorus has a Fleetwood Mac feel to it, with a build of instruments layered just so. That was tasty. Let’s see what’s next.

“Bury Me With My Hammer” is the Young Heirlooms’ single from this album. Again, there is a feel that this band comes from someplace else. The harmonies are so tight and balanced, as are the layers of instruments. Rumor has it that Chris Robinson is something of a gear head. He loves guitars and the different personalities each can have. Recording has got to be a dream world for someone who doesn’t have to pick just one voice for a song. Ooh, and that bass groove. It’s easy to tell why this song was selected as the band’s showcase single.

“Helena & Halburton” is a love song that swings with a waltz beat, showcasing Kelly Fine’s sweet and soulful voice by itself for the verse. There is maturity not only in this band’s themes and sound, but in the lyrical delivery as well. I could sit and listen to Kelly sing by herself for hours. A couple of times I actually have, and I recommend you do, too. I mean, don’t miss out on the band of course. I’m just saying. Kelly Fine is no joke. She gives me goosebumps every time I hear her sing.

“Workin’ Man” rocks out with electric energy, pushing the pace and adding a little boom to the album, then “Jellico” shifts gears again to more of a country rock sound. No wait… is that jazz? Make that jazzy country rock harmony. Oh, they’re so smooth. So, so smooth. And I have guitar envy, but Chris already knows that. We have to set aside 10 minutes every time I see them play just to geek out together over whatever guitars he brought along.

I think I remember Kelly telling the story behind “Hotel Benvenuti”, but I don’t recall the details. All I remember is being floored that she can have an idea pop into her head and then jot down some ideas that led to a work of art like this song, because I would probably write a few notes and forget what they are for when I find them in my pocket in a week when I go to do laundry. Either that or I’ll write nothing but notes for a month and bang my head against a wall that I can’t make a song come out. Did I mention I agreed to do this review three weeks ago? But enough about me.

“Never Truly” has a little dobro and a touch of twang to it for a nice change up. Most Young Heirlooms songs seem to have more R&B or singer/songwriter influence to them, but this song is all country. The harmonica is a nice touch. The title caught my attention, and hearing it fit in to the rest of the line, “You were never truly dear to me” is almost like hearing a good punch line. “Darling Dear” also has plenty of country twang to it, but it builds and soars with it more of a ballad feel to it before “Over and Over” rejoins the groove of the first few songs on the album.

I am going to have to check everyone’s ID’s, because I am pretty sure this record came out in 1972. It didn’t? Okay, sorry. Still timeless, though. Everything the Young Heirlooms does is timeless. Their music is gimmick-free, lyrics are devoid of cliché, and performances are A-plus. I had no doubt this album was going to be outstanding, and it absolutely did not disappoint. Speaking of timeless, the last track is Neil Young’s “Ohio”, and they absolutely did it all the justice the song deserves. In the current age of political unrest and social divide, did they really know how relevant the track would be? It’s as if the band just seems to know how to do everything right.