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Arty Hill and the Long Gone Daddys

Montgomery on My Mind – 2009 (Cow Island Music)

Reviewed by Rick Bell

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CDs by Arty Hill and the Long Gone Daddys

Making a tribute album to Hank Williams could be career suicide but Arty Hill and His Long Gone Daddys pull off their eight song homage with solid vocals great picking and most of all, a ton of respect. With three originals including an instrumental tribute to Hank's steel player Don Helms featuring a virtuoso performance by multi-instrumentalist Dave Giegerich on Don's Bop, Hill and his band avoid the lure of rockabilly and keep feet planted firmly in early '50s honky tonk country.

Lovesick Blues and I I Can't Help It (If I'm Still in Love With You) are masterfully remade by Hill and crew - not schmnaltzy, not mere note-for-note covers, but tributes that are reverent yet fun. The band chugs through Pan American and lets loose with a rocked-up version of Take These Chains From My Heart.

Hill muses about seeing Hank onstage at the Opry on Church on Saturday Night and offers a sobering picture of a performer's life on the road with Montgomery on My Mind.

It's not hard to imagine a big ol' grin on Hank's face as he listens to Hill and the Daddys perform the timeless works he originally made so famous.