332. Talk About Life – Kim Hill

TALK ABOUT LIFE (1989)

Kim Hill

Kim was that “girl next door” artist CCM was looking for. That is, if you lived next door to a really attractive girl who appeared to live on a farm and possessed nothing but jeans and an acoustic guitar who drove a 1950’s era puck up truck. Yeah…that next door.

After a decent debut that showed glimmers of hope for originality and artistic merit, Kim Hill’s sophomore release, Talk About Life, revealed those possibilities. Less Nashville pop and more female singer-songwriter. Less AC pop and more rock, country and folk. Hill was Christian music answer to the Melissa Etheridge/Meredith Brooks. jean wearing female rocker/songwriter.

Hill’s husky alto voice (think Chistine McVie, KT Tunstall)) was great fit to the earthy, acoustic rock on the album. What also worked is a strong lyrical content that went beyond the normal CCM categories, even if the themes remained similar. There is a passion in the content as well as in the performance.

“Snakes in the Grass” is one of the great songs in the history of CCM female artists. Her vocal flexibility and range mixed with a stark and edgy production makes this a stand out on so many levels. It’s a song Maria McKee would do, but with no guarantee of better results. The acoustic guitar accentuated by an incredible “rock” string arrangement is pure studio magic. Brown Bannister, more noted for his AC pop, outdid himself on this album.

The title track and Closer to a Broken Heart continue the great rock sound in the vein of The Pretenders and Tom Petty. In fact, there are really no weak moments on the albums and has remained her strongest effort, though her follow up also contained similar quality work.

Hill would later move in a more worship direction and an involvement with Women of faith type ministries. She has yet to return to this type of music and that is true loss for Christian Music. But even some 20 years later this album sound fantastic and not dated in any way.

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  1. Shawn McLaughlin
    October 30, 2010 at 6:20 am

    This was a nice precursor to her true masterpiece, Brave Heart. I love most of the songs here but BH had none of the AC/Inspo cheese that still appears on Talk About Life (“Secret Place”, “Testimony”). Still, gotta love the Johnny Cash choogle of the title track.

    Also, Hill has, more recently, (2006) released an album that hearkens back to these two works. “Broken Things” is full of snarling guitars and world weary lyrics written by Hill and Jill Phillips, Kate Miner and Marc Byrd, among others. really great album.

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