REVIEW: Grant Hill and M.O.S “fly” Goes Beyond Expectations


While there isn’t anything new or revolutionary here the 11-cut Grant Hill and M.O.S. – fly (Independent – Drops Feb 19th) is filled with well-recorded tunes, excellent musicianship & LA’s EastWest Studio sound from producer Les Camacho (Iggy Pop, Massive Attack).

Lots have been previously explored but when I close my eyes & listen, I hear what made some lesser-known bands so memorable to my ears: the Michael Stanley Band (still recording/performing), Big Back 40 (“Blood”), & the C. Gibbs Band (“Drag the Ashes”).

Grant Hill (acoustic guitar) has presence & the band supports his expressive vocals as the late Michael Been’s were with The Call (“Let the Day Begin”), & Mark Germino (“Fields of Man’s New Order”).

“Whisper,” & “My First Friend” are instantly dynamic – good melodies, lyrics & performance. These are songs recorded with such clarity on guitars, drums & vocals that they tempt repeated listens. The CD is paced strongly with tracks 3-6 playing to their strength.

The material is not rushed, sounds well-rehearsed without losing the soul of the song & planned with care. Each cut starts with inventive variations. Little of this sounds cliched. Each is a child with their own personality. This is a seasoned band. It’s a pleasure to listen to them let loose confidently on good music with friskiness & precision. It’s like a creamy cheesecake – you can’t have just one slice. But…

These aren’t sweet pieces. There’s sassiness – “Welcome to This Life,” is just a rollicking ass-kicker that smokes just short of being ablaze. But being ablaze would make it hard rock & this is not hard rock – this is fluent stuff. They all know how to get from A to Z without tripping over themselves or showboating. “Sticks n Stones,” crackles & is a well-crafted tune.

Not all musicians appear on every track – Mitch Perry (electric/acoustic guitar), Simrin Phull, Marc Strommer (electric guitars), Jared James Nichols (electric guitar/slide/mandolin), the late Orlando Sims (bass), Edwin Livingston, & Hal Cragin (basses), Devin Lebsack (drums), Rafael Padilla (percussion), Nelson Bragg (percussion/bv), Joel Stites (keys/organ/B3), Larry Logan (B3), The Men of LACA gospel choir conducted by Tony Jones, with backing vocals by Tai & Durga McBroom.

Finally, cut 10 “Moonshine, ” closes with strong vocals & poignancy & trudges along with a mannered men’s choir, acoustic clarity & high torque drive. Delightful. Memorable. I believe my only criticism: a lack of a lyric insert. The CD package is beautiful on the inside spread. Laminated color images, but the design is simplistic.

All songs were written by Grant Hill. This was beyond my expectations. The 47-minute CD is available here &

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