With loping rhythms, plaintive melodies, and a dry, twangy voice, LAís Sid Hillman makes independent country rock from a singular perspective. Being the nephew of Chris Hillman (Byrds, Flying Burrito Brothers) certainly gives him some pedigree, but itís clear Sid has forged his own identity. Volume Two, the follow-up to last yearís homonymous debut, incorporates shades and structures of bands like Red House Painters and Acetone who are not usually identified with the so-called alternative-roots scene. And the unusual tempos, often shuffling and seeming intentionally off-kilter, borrow from Souled American, one of the great unsung (and uncategorizable) bands of the 1980s. Sure, the presence of an ever-mournful pedal steel guitar gives the disc an unmistakable country feel. But the rich cello that accents "Silverís More Pretty Than Gold" is a distinct element inspiring in its simplicity. And Hillmanís accordion adds a little more cross-cultural flavor than most of the alterna-country out there can boast at the moment.
(The Sid Hillman Quartet headline 608 this Monday, April 22. Call 617-591-1661.)