Eric Hill and Hidden Drive

Eric Hill and Hidden Drive

Eric Hill and Hidden Drive

Head Over Heels

EJH Productions

There is something oddly familiar about Eric Hill’s songs. They sound as if I’ve heard them before, perhaps a decade or two ago. Of course, that would be impossible since this is only Hill’s second record, and he’s only begun releasing material in the past few years. But the deja vu is nagging. It’s not that Hill is derivative; despite the similarities his rough vocals share with New York legend Lou Reed, Hill has his own voice, one that is gritty yet compassionate and even romantic at times. Every time I play the CD, I wonder, “Weren’t these hits when I was growing up?”

In a parallel universe, Hill has been a rock & roll superstar for more than 20 years. I must’ve plugged into some kind of multidimensional transmission, my subconscious finding familiarity in the vintage words and chords utilized here. Either that, or Hill has found the elusive formula of rock & roll immortality.

Hill has produced track after track of classic pop; it’s almost like a “Greatest Hits” compilation, summarizing a long career that stretches from the ’50s to today. However, it’s not. Most people have never heard the title track, even though Alan Freed could’ve spun back in the day; and you could easily imagine Jerry Lee Lewis being spun immediately after.

Too many independent acts follow a pretentious avant-garde blueprint to achieve hipster cred. But doesn’t that go against the idea of being independent in the first place? Hill is following his own muse here — from ’60s jangle to ’70s country rock — and he doesn’t trip over his own ambitions even once.

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