Award-winning Canadian singer/musician/songwriter Dan Hill’s 16-song release, his first in 11 years, is an outstanding addition to his multi-decade catalogue. His first hit, Sometimes When We Touch (1977), is still a favourite of many generations of listeners. Hill does not disappoint here, with more moving songs featuring his trademark lyrics and melodies.
Title track On the Other side of Here is a classic Hill song with chordal piano (John Sheard) and guitar (Anthony Vanderburgh) accompaniments – and multiple harmonic key modulations. What About Black Lives?, released last November as a single/lyric video, is an intense song written in the wake of George Floyd’s killing in the United States. Hill is a child of a mixed-race couple, and expresses his outrage of this horrific event musically with shifting rhythms, dynamics and powerful melodic lyrics in his vocal/piano and Vandenburgh’s guitar performances. Ninety Years Old is heart wrenching, with words like “When you are 90 years old, you are still a little girl” sung above respectful guitar, piano and strings. Pop-flavoured, radio-friendly, faster Sometimes I Feel, composed by Hill and Vanessa Benfield, has Hill singing at the high end of his vocal range and playing rhythmic guitar accompaniment to Vanderburgh’s soundscape on Rhodes. All the other tracks are equally enchanting.
Hill’s songwriting and performance skills are still so very personal yet relatable to us after all these years. Combined with clear production and virtuosic performers, this is another inspiring Hill masterpiece!