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Over the Hills

4.7 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Audio CD, March 13, 2007
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Long one of America's most popular and acclaimed roots/folk artists, Lucy Kaplansky returns with Over the Hills, a rich alt-country mix of great originals and classics by June Carter Cash, Bryan Ferry, Ian Tyson, Loudon Wainwright III. This release could well be on of THE roots/folk events of 2007. Produced by veteran producer Ben Wittman, the band includes Larry Campbell (Bob Dylan Band) Jon Herrington (Steely Dan) and Duke Levine (Mary C. Carpenter) with guest vocals from Eliza Gilkyson, Buddy Miller, Richard Shindell and Jonathan Brooke.

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Though the strength of her songwriting has distinguished previous releases by folk troubadour Lucy Kaplansky, here she covers a wide range of material, from "More Than This" by Roxy Music's Bryan Ferry and Johnny Cash's classic "Ring of Fire" (written by his wife June) to Loudon Wainwright III's idyllic "The Swimming Song" and Ian Tyson's "Someday Soon" (a '60s hit for Judy Collins). What's as surprising as the song choices is that Kaplansky makes so much of the material sound so much the same, as if she isn't as emotionally invested in it as she is in her own writing. An exception is her duet with Buddy Miller on "Somewhere Trouble Don't Go," written by Buddy's wife, Julie. Kaplansky receives stellar support from Larry Campbell (formerly with Bob Dylan) on slide and steel guitars, and harmonies from Jonatha Brooke, Eliza Gilkyson, and Richard Shindell. Yet "Today's the Day," a song about the death of Kaplansky's father, with minimal musical backing, is the most compelling performance here. --Don McLeese
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 13, 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Red House
  • ASIN: B000MM1F3C
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #90,300 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The Amazon reviewer is quite mistaken. OVER THE HILLS is a compelling album throughout. Although perhaps a bit more modest in ambition than her 9/11-themed previous recording--the great RED THREAD--this one's excellence derives from its smaller scale. Lucy has always been a personal singer--often delivering as if into your own ear alone--and she continues that feeling in OVER THE HILLS. The superb original compositions are largely about her family: her recently deceased father, her daughter (now and in the future) and her grandfather. Lucy has added such charm and twinkle to a well-chosen group of covers that they become new again: especially "Someday Soon," "Swimming Song," and "Ring of Fire." In addition to her first rate group of instrumentalists, Lucy has made terrific use of Eliza Gilkyson, Richard Shindell and Jonatha Brooke for harmony singers. If the Amazon reviewer thinks all the songs sound alike, he should listen a bit more carefully. They don't. OVER THE HILLS is subtle and lovely.
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I originally felt lukewarm about this album. Lucy seemed more laid back and less invested in the music. and her singing less emotional, than in other albums. I felt and still feel her rendition of the famous Johnny Cash/June Carter tune 'Ring of Fire' is emotionless and essentially 'mailed in.'

However, there are two songs on the album that make me cry no matter where I am--this is sometimes dangerous while driving--but the song she wrote about her father's death and it being the time she finally let go of all the things he was not to her, and one about a poverty stricken grandfather from the old country who passed down only his voice, are so powerful and psychologically sensitive and incisive that this has slowly become a favorite album--when I have access to some tissues...
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I was listening to Yahoo Lauchcast several months ago when I first heard "Amelia". Lucy's voice was captivating and the story was moving. Later, I heard the song "Over the Hills" and knew that Lucy is a true folk talent. A few weeks later when I finally heard "The Gift", I was holding back tears (it wouldn't do for a grown man to cry). I had to buy this album. I hope this touches you as much as it touches me.
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An excellent album and well worth the money and time. I have been a fan for some years and she did not disappoint me.
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I have been listening to Lucy Kaplansky for severaly years, and I found this CD to be her most consistent in terms of well-done, thoughtful music.

The song "More Than This" is a touching ballad about the circle of life told through the eyes of an aging woman.

Her cover of "Ring of Fire" is great. I love the song anyway, but she does it justice.

This CD is well worth the money.
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While not quite as compelling overall as The Red Thread, Over The Hills is a solid album. As others have said, there are too many cover songs here, and while Lucy never fails to find the value in any song, she could easily have skipped a couple of these. It's her original songs that make this an album to cherish. In particular, the two songs inspired by her father's death (especially the title track) and The Gift, about how her musical gift runs directly back to her grandfather, are beautifully crafted and overwhelmingly moving. (I can't listen to them without fighting back tears.) Amelia is also excellent. These songs are just as good as anything on her earlier records... and that's pretty darn good!
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I had never heard of Lucy Kaplansky when a friend sent me this album a few weeks ago. I'm buying a copy for another friend today. I simply cannot stop listening to it. There is a sameness to the performances, as the Amazon reviewer pointed out, but I'd say it comes from an understated approach, not an unemotional one. Anyone who likes folk or country might want to give this one a try.
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I adore Lucy K - and own all her albums. She has done a stellar job on Over the Hills. The only album that may be better is still the incredible Flesh and Bone. If you like Lucy, you will certainly appreciate owning this new one. If you are new to Lucy, perhaps start with Flesh and Bone and then come to this one. You won't be sorry.
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