REVIEW: Eleven Hundred Springs Embraces the Lonely on ‘Here ‘Tis’


Eleven Hundred Springs is a band that has been making country records for more than 20 years. The band’s website describes the band’s sound as “indigenous country,” which is a good way to differentiate it from the often-bland country music that comes out of Nashville. On the new album Here ‘Tis, the band shows that it is going as strong as ever with sharp songwriting and danceable tunes.

“Fair Weather Friend” has a very old-time feel with a guitar reminiscent of Ernest Tubb and a brushed drum part by Christian Dorn that brings Junior Brown to mind. It’s the kind of song you expect to be played by a band wearing cowboy hats, bolo ties, and matching fringe jackets. The pedal steel by “Awesome” Ray Austin and the fiddle by Jordan Hendrix makes this a perfect song for slow dancing on an old hardwood floor.

Lots of songs have been written about escaping city life. This band adds one of their own with “Let’s Move out to the Country.” In this upbeat song, the Matt Hillyer laments the noise of the city and how “they keep cutting up each patch of land that’s pretty and building things they hope will draw a crowd.” Don’t be surprised if this song inspires two responses from you. First, it is likely to get you two-stepping – especially with the bass line by Steven Berg. Second, it might make you want to find your own peaceful place in the country – even if it’s only temporary.

The more you listen to this album, the more you have to wonder why it hasn’t been picked up by country radio stations. It is just one great country song after another. For example, when you’ve heard half of the album, you’re pretty satisfied. Then comes “The Song You’ll Never Hear.” The melody is fueled by the pedal steel and is perfect for a sad country song. Then you hear the lyrics, “Just imagine what it sounds like when a heart breaks” in Hillyer’s voice that has some similarity to Gary Bennett of BR5-49. It is breathtakingly beautiful, and it is perfect for the end of a night in a dark honky tonk.

Whether it’s an upbeat song to get couples two-stepping or the utter heartbreak that you can only find in this genre, this band shows that it has perfected the art of crafting country songs. Each song is seemingly so perfect that it’s easy to imagine this band being the envy of other songwriters and musicians. If you’re a fan of country music, this is an album you should have. And if you do purchase it, don’t be surprised if you listen to it endlessly and learn every word in the process. Here ‘Tis (State Fair Records) was released on January 17 and is available everywhere now. Order your copy here.

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