Television Hill: Twilight
Singer/songwriter Rob Wilson unearths a pained soul on Television Hill’s Twilight, a Cormac McCarthy-epic journey through rural desperation and primal urges. Musicians David Bergrander, Dave Heumann, and Walker Jeret provide the wee-hours frowns and front-porch scoot to Wilson’s arrestingly expressive weathered voice, right at home as a Southern hick storyteller of “Easy Come, Easy Go” or an apostrophe-strewn phonetic hollers of the transfixing “Bamako Express,” a levitating bowed-saw waltz of drunk joy.
Television Hill really comes to life on such oddly constructed approaches to folk forms. “Saratoga” gently welds a spidery web of guitar fingerings to a Civil War military march that flowers into a Califone-ish summery wash. A fingered double-bass kicks a little ass-wiggle into the strutting stomp “Gunny Shiloh.” Brushed drums and a gemstone honky-tonk guitar line add an extra ache to Wilson’s bluesy rhetorical laments in “Hostage Honey,” just as the trudging drum kicks in “Fine Fraulein” add an darker shade of blue to his throaty line readings.
The group is so agile and chameleonlike with these moody, chimerical genre experiments that when it launches into a traditional rocker—see the chugging “John the Revelator” or “Ginx Blues”—it feels like both a sudden gear-shift and a wee bit tame. Television Hill can no doubt nail Band-esque country rock, but it excels at Frankenstein folk that isn’t as easily pigeonholed.