Australia’s New South Wales is a long, long way from the hills and hollows of Virginia and Kentucky. Yet after listening to this delightful album from Australian wunderkind Angus Gill, it sure doesn’t sound that far away at all.
The collaborators who’ve pitched in with Gill as cowriters and studio collaborators—Jerry Salley and Jim Lauderdale among them—are a testimony to his talent level. Gill and Sally sound like they’re having a blast on a slightly tongue-in-cheek honky-tonk tearjerker they cowrote called “Let’s Have A Drink (To Not Drinking Again).” Similarly, Gill and Lauderdale work hand in glove on their cowrite called “Whittling Away.”
Throughout these eleven selections (all of which he cowrote), Gill (who coproduced with Tim Crouch) conveys youthful bravado tempered by good-natured earnestness. Yet his songwriting conveys insight and empathy well beyond his twenty-three years.
The title tune is an exquisitely wrought and deeply felt tribute to a beloved grandmother. “Put ‘Er There” (cowritten with Gary Burr) is an equally heartfelt pledge of trust and devotion. “Feet Of Clay” explores a complex, sometimes troubled and often shifting relationship between a father and son.
Gill and company rev things way up on “Heartquake,” a wild run-away train ride of a love lament featuring some stellar picking. Then he slows things way back down with an ancient-sounding and stirring a capella outing called “Forget Me Not.”
All in all, The Scrapbook is an inspired and exhilarating ride.