Charles Hill Jr.
(Stow House Records)
An ardent fan of old school country, local singer-songwriter Charles Hill Jr. counts country icon George Jones as one of his biggest influences — his grandfather used to play Jones’ tunes on an old guitar he had. That love of a bygone era permeates Hill’s new album, a terrific collection of tunes that sounds like they came out of a different decade. “This is Where I’ve Ended Up” is a tender ballad that benefits from a touch of slide guitar. Hill shows off his smooth vocals on the mid-tempo “Achin’ Brakin’ Heart” and on the twangy “Like They All Let Me Down.” Hill adopts a baritone for the somber “The Best Efforts” and lets his band really jam on the careening “Mouse Island.” The songs here sound so familiar, they suggest singing and songwriting comes naturally to Hill.
Charles Hill Jr. and the Cleveland Country Band perform with Bill Fox at 9 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 10 at the Happy Dog.