Hailing from Dallas, Texas Eleven Hundred Springs consists of Matt Hillyer. Steve Berg, Jordan Hendrix, Chad Rueffer, Ray Austin and Christian Dorn. They released their debut album Welcome to Eleven Hundred Springs in 1998 and since then they’ve toured relentlessly and released plenty more music. Their last album was The Finer Things in Life, which arrive in 2018, and two years on the band has released new album Here ‘Tis.
If you source your Country music directly from mainstream radio, you’re very unlikely to come across anything like Eleven Hundred Springs. Famous in their home state, the band has spent the past 22 years crafting a sound that embraces the tradition of the Country genre and paved a path for them to find plenty of success without the backing of Country radio. Opening track This Morning It Was Too Late perfectly sets the tone for what to expect from this 10-track collection. You can hear real instruments as the song kicks in and frontman Matt Hillyer’s distinctive vocal drives the melody.
Across the album’s 10 tracks, Eleven Hundred Springs showcase their strength as a band. They are tight musically and their swoonsome brand of Country pays loving homage to the legends of the genre that came before. All Jokes Aside, which features lead guitarist Chad Rueffer on lead vocals, switches the gears a bit as his deep characterful voice croons over a steady beat. On the more reflective Looking Back, the band explores their history acknowledging all the ups and downs they’ve been through.
Miles Apart has a harder edge than some of the other songs on the record with gentle harmonies coming on the chorus, while the Hawaiian-influenced Fair Weather Friend takes a lighter dreamier tone standing out as a highlight on the first half of the record. The perky Let’s Move Out to the Country finds the band commenting on the ever-growing expansion of cities and the frenetic Let Me Be Your Man whizzes by at a fast pace clocking in at just over two and a half minutes.
The record comes to an end with Nobody Cares, a song that’s a little rockier than the nine tracks that precede it. It’s a strong end to the record and will leave you wanting to press play again the minute it concludes.
I’ll be honest, I hadn’t heard of Eleven Hundred Springs before this record but I’ll definitely be digging into their back catalogue now. Here ‘Tis is a refreshingly traditional record that serves as a good reminder of what Country music used to be like, and still is if you look far enough outside of Music City. There’s much to enjoy here and the band’s energy and charm certainly radiates from each and every song.
Track list: 1. This Morning It Was Too Late 2. All Jokes Aside 3. Miles Apart 4. Fair Weather Friend 5. Let’s Move Out to the Country 6. The Song You’ll Never Hear 7. Looking Back 8. Let Me Be Your Man 9. Let Tomorrow Wait and See 10. Nobody Cares Record label: State Fair Records Release date: 17th January 2020 Buy Here ‘Tis