Hard Places (2016)


1. Holy Wrath
2. Hard Places
3. Cold Feet
4. Dying Breed
5. Amazing Wife
6. Goodnight Jimmy
7. Buzzards
8. John Wayne Heart
9. Traveling Light
10. Sleep
11. Papillion
12. Last Man Standing

Famous and inspired guitar player, great composer, Billy Crain is also a good man. All the money he gets with this last album will be given to the Papillion association that helps helpless children (abuses, drugs, alcohol, abandon…). American people talk about “children from hard places”, and it gave the album name. Billy won’t earn any money with that album, showing how generous he is. His wife and he also have adopted two children with this association, Congratulations! This album is not only a good cause one, it has nice songs. “Holy Wrath” has an incredible introduction: thunder, synths and guitars that show how gifted Billy is. Then this song changes in a pop song with an excellent guitar final. British pop style is always present, just like Queen, on “Hard Places”. Just note “Dying Breed” too and “Goodnight Jimmy”. “Amazing Wife” begins in a Celtic style and becomes an Americana-pop song. “Buzzards” looks like the Cars or Sniff n’ the Tears and Billy plays a killer solo at the end. Guitar is also heavy on “Sleep” even is the arrangements are not good enough. Then we get three medium level songs: “Clod Feet”, “Travelling Light” and “Last Man standing” with a good guitar solo. Then we get two really splendid songs. First “John Wayne’s heart” played on a medium tempo that becomes faster and faster for a wonderful solo full of feeling and technical expression. Then arrives the wonderful “Papillion” and its shining guitar. So we get here a brilliant album, with pop influences that warms our hearts, and that show how gifted is Billy Crain as a musician and as a composer. Southern Rock fans maybe won’t be really satisfied. It seems that Billy won’t play that style again. However it is a very beautiful album. And it is for a good cause. Keep p on playin’, Billy!

Olivier Aubry

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