Somewhat Civil
Heaven Hill

By Jason Ashcraft

If patience is a virtue, then Heaven Hill's new album Somewhat Civil, which was originally set to be released Fall 2007, will be worth the wait. Although it's not due out in stores nationwide until August 26, all will be forgiven once you get your hands on a copy of this album.

Somewhat Civil, produced by Ryan Williams at Europa Studios in Atlanta, Georgia, is Teague Ridge, Chuck Willis and Chris Evans's (Louisville music scene veterans) most well-polished recording effort, going back to the days of Breckinridge/Element H (Willis and Ridge) and The Constant (Evans).

The most impressive aspect of Heaven Hill's efforts to perfect their sound on Somewhat Civil was their choice to head up the mastering process. Recording mastering icon Eddie Schreyer of Oasis Studios in L.A. has a laundry list of hit makers from almost every genre of music including Prince, Chevelle, Alice In Chains, Johnny Cash, Ben Harper and Queen, just to name a few.

Schreyer even went so far as to say that he thought Heaven Hill's Somewhat Civil was going to "put another album on his wall." I think it's safe to say the album is loaded with quite a few potential radio hit singles, each consistently delivering Heaven Hill's classic hard Southern rock.

Every time I listen to this album, I come away with a different song that I think is the dominant song. I've gone back and forth between "When It's Sold," "Top Of The South," "I've Done It" and "Going Down."I anticipate that a few of these songs will be the singles that pave the way for this album's likely success.

"When It's Sold" opens with an acoustic rhythm reminiscent of Evan's former band The Constant and illustrates his songwriting stamp on Heaven Hill's music. The song quickly builds on Willis' grungy vocals and Kerr's Southern-fried and hard-rockin' dirty guitars. It's hard to get the songs fervent chorus out of your head after it's over.

"Top Of The South," Heaven Hill's geographic slang for Louisville, is the album's most patriotic dub on our hometown. It opens up with an AM radio sound, with Willis's vocals slightly predominating over O'Reilly's drums. Like most of the songs on the album, it quickly gets to the chorus: "Southern by the grace of God....." This song declares Heaven Hill's pride at being "country 'til the time I die" and solidifies their Southern roots. This is probably my overall favorite song on the album, at least for today. Tomorrow, or even in the next paragraph, it will be something else.

"I've Done It" flirts with pop rock, but still delivers that classic dirty-Southern sound that Heaven Hill has come to be known for. With a "rock the stadium" harmonized chorus, this song may just be the single that lands them airplay outside the mainstream rock stations.

"Going Down" is lyrically slightly raunchy but is consistent with style. Look for this song to be the probable favorite as the first single from the album.

Although most of the songs follow a standard "verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, chorus" order, Somewhat Civil will be music to the ears of all Southern rock lovers across the country. I say so and so does Eddie Schreyer, so go buy it. If I'm wrong, then so is Eddie. That being said, I won't lose sleep at night.