Kim Hill’s new CD Broken Things should be nominated for a Dove Award in the Rock/Contemporary Album of the Year category. This is folk rock at its best. For those unfamiliar with Hill’s musical style think of a blend of Sheryl Crow, Canada’s Carolyn Arends and Melissa Etheridge. The music doesn’t get in the way of the lyrics. In particular Paul Ebersold lays down some fine acoustic guitar licks on the second track “A Million Pieces”.
While listening to “Lover Of My Soul” and the social commentaries “Wide” and “Run Away” I was thinking Kim is Austin City Limits calling you yet? The alto voiced rocker who has been quiet in recent years fully deserves to have the spotlight focused on her once again. If you know of someone who thinks that they simply aren’t good enough for God to love them then spin the tune “Wide” while they are in the car with you. It is a song that evokes strong emotions as it talks about God’s unconditional love for those who think they are unworthy. In contrast “Run Away” echoes a pet peeve of my own. Hills sings, “People ask me how I’m doing/But they don’t really want to know/And if they keep pursuing/I’m not sure how much to show/” In too many churches across America today we have developed a culture where we talk about suffering but don’t want to feel the pain. We want to live on the fringes of humanity. It is easier to talk about someone going hungry overseas (and don’t get me wrong that is important) but we are unmoved by the poverty and undernourished children in the disadvantaged neighborhoods of America. We show compassion for the divorced single mother but we judge harshly the teenage girl who became an unwed mother and chose to keep her child.
“You Don’t Belong Here” will rankle the conservative Christians I am sure but is a song that needs to be heard. It is not a song condoning a lifestyle but insists that Christ came into the world to show compassion and love for all. The poignant words of songwriter Andy Gullahorn will drive a stake through the hearts of modern day Pharisees, “But they’re selling passports to the gates of the kingdom come/Like they’re the ones who hold the key/”
We would be remiss not to mention the other instrumentalists on this splendid album. Guitarists Scott Hardin (acoustic guitar) Skidd Mills (acoustic guitar, bass), Steve Selvidge (acoustic/slide/electric guitars) Steve Latanation (drums) and James Joseph (piano) along with producer Ebersold (Three Doors Down, Sister Hazel, Third Day) create an ambience that allows you to close your eyes and forget that you are not taking in a live performance. The producer put the emphasis on keeping the music simple and uncluttered.
For those of you not familiar with Kim Hill’s story she is a single mother of two boys. She has felt the pain of divorce. I remember while standing in a Christian bookstore during the spring of 2005 picking up Today’s Christian Woman and turning to cover story about Kim Hill. As a divorced person and until the time of my teenage son’s death a single parent I found someone whose life identified with mine, someone who could say I know where you have been. The CD Broken Things comes straight from the heart of a woman who sings about what she has experienced first hand. She is a tremendously gifted artist whose CD hits the streets on September 26th. Do yourself a favor and pickup a copy. Give a second one to someone you know who is hurting and feeling alone in this world. Then go out and share God’s love and your own unconditionally because if you don’t you won’t have understood the message in the last song on this record “Just The Same”.
Copyright © 2006 Joe Montague, exclusive rights reserved. This material may not be redistributed without prior written permission from Joe Montague. Joe Montague is an internationally published freelance journalist / photographer.