Hemifran is a music label and distribution company based in Sweden and is responsible for marketing and shipping many of the Americana releases you read about here and on other publications. The artists they push and promote range from household names (well, in my household) to independent spirits who’ve managed to conjure up a disc’s worth of music and offered it to the world.
Like most labels Hemifran occasionally gather up a handful of tunes and paste them into what one used to call a sampler. Their two previous offerings, “I Like It Better Here – Music From Home” and “I Like It Better Here – Some More Music From Home” have featured artists such as Jackson Browne and Graham Nash along with some lesser known but at times tremendous artists. Despite their releases being chock full of contemporary acts these two discs did display an engaging love for the singer songwriter feel of the seventies and this carries on with their third in the series.
“That Thing That’s a Whole Lot Bigger Than This – Hymns From Home” is a lovingly crafted artefact based on a suggestion by Greg Copeland that the third compilation consist of “secular hymns,” or songs that “have to do with “That Thing That’s a Whole Lot Bigger Than This.” To this end we have a selection of songs that in the main delve back to the likes of Townes Van Zandt, Steve Young, Steve Goodman and others of that ilk. Copeland himself appears twice while Steve Noonan, Jack Tempchkin, JD Souther and Judy Collins all get a piece apiece. Finger picking story songs predominate with several styles on show but with the likes of I See Hawks in LA and the power pop presence of Anthony Crawford’s On The Hill this is not a simple folk album. JD Souther’s On The Day Nobody Likes You glides from a Bo Diddley beat to glossy Boz Scaggs like soul shuffle while Judy Collins offers a hymn like paean to the power of song that evokes celestial choirs.
As to the theme of secular hymns all is revealed in the liner notes where each performer explains their choice. You can read these on the Hemifran website. Better still they have very kindly offered five copies of the album to give away here. If you want a copy all you have to do is let me know via the comments below with a promise to come back and tell us what your favourite song on the album was and why. First five to respond with a cast iron promise get the album.
I See Hawks In LA – If You Lead I Will Follow