Gretta Ziller has already generated a great deal of critical and industry acclaim in the 2013 Telstra Road to Discovery Grand Finals at the Tamworth Country Music Festival, as well as her 2013 TSA/APRA New Songwriter of the Year award. Now she has released her debut EP Hell’s Half Acre which captures the essence and graceful Americana beauty of her songwriting and voice.
Hell’s Half Acre finds that balance between melody, mood and melancholy, the backbone for so much great country music from Hank Williams, Townes Van Zandt, Lucinda Williams through to Ryan Adams Jason Isbell and Gillian Welch. The opening pair of songs – ‘Hunt For Love’ and ‘Hell’s Half Acre’ are near perfect with sighing pedal steel and textural dancing rhythms framing Ziller’s soaring, sweet ache of a voice.
Her subject matter is nothing new but she imbues it with just the right amount of gentle ache and whipsmart, economical lyrics like “We got high down in the low country”. Always the sign of a great writer and singer, her songs sound effortless. They float with a compositional ease, whether it is the weightier title track or the country-pop filtered ‘Some Kind of Habit’ that serves to lightens the mood of the EP.
Ziller leaves us with ‘Rust & Bones’, a period piece of old-timey bluesy folk with added vocal grit and intent. It features an outlaw on the run, bodies on the ground, and a doomed soul and it shows how effectively she blends the traditional and contemporary worlds on this impressive debut release.