Hannah Aldridge 'Razor Wire' - Trodden Black

On the inner sleeve of this album is a picture that shows Aldridge leaning against a wall that has “For The Love Of Music” painted on it and that seems to sum up Aldridge. The daughter of a successful songwriter she has fashioned a set of ten spiky songs, nine of which she wrote or co-wrote. The one exception is a cover of Jason Isbell’s Try. This is her debut album and it is powerfully fully formed and formidable. It was produced, recorded and mixed by Chris Mara in the main. On Try she was backed by Isbell’s band, the 400 Unit. Elsewhere she has gathered together a set of players totally sympathetic to these memorable songs.

She is steeped in the heritage of Muscle Shoals as well as Nashville and this produces a mix she describes as “dark Americana”, a fitting title. The band delivers a musical bedrock that can be as subtle as the evocative title track or the piano led depths of Parchman as well as the attack and decay of Try or the opening defiant You Ain’t Worth The Fight, or even the more upfront delivery of Old Ghost which has swirling B3 and edgy guitar that warns a partner “don’t let me find you sleep with that old ghost again”. Strand of Pearls features our old friend the musical saw to good ethereal effect. Lonesome,  a song she wrote when she started out making music, found some success when it was featured in the TV series Hart Of Dixie. It helped get her a publishing deal and encouraged her writing. It is the last track on the album (bar an uncredited acoustic version of the title track that closes the album proper) and it has a mood befitting its title.

Overall the music allows the impact of the lyrics and Aldridge’s delivery of them to attain full resonance. This creates a balanced and satisfying album that marks the debut of a new and insightful artist and one who will grow with experience. Mark her as a name to watch out for with subsequent releases.