By ASHLEY CENTERS
For Inland 360
His love affair with North Central Idaho and the Palouse began years later, when Charlie and Kathy Camden introduced him to the Frontier Music Festival in Kooskia and the Charlie Russell Western Heritage Gathering in Lewiston. He plays Saturday at Artisans at the Dahmen Barn in Uniontown.
“I’ve worked very hard to be able to show up and sound bigger than one guy, “ said Hill, 41, of Hooper, Utah. “The ears are as important as the hands and voice. It takes years to develop, and if I ever stop improving I’ll resign my post.”
Hill describes his sound as “pure western, but edgy.” That said, even though he comes from rural America and looks like a cowboy on stage, he doesn’t feel that modern popular country music represents him or his people. He works to make his music sound “western” in imagery and sometimes even “West coast” in production.
“I once had a composition teacher tell me that my writing would deepen and darken as I aged,” Hill said. “I thought, ‘She doesn’t get it.’ But it has. The underlying themes are the same — the West, horses, romance — but I’ve added themes like hardship and tragedy as I’ve encountered failure and loss. If I’ve accomplished anything, it’s that I’ve been able to remain true to my core values and hopefully offered some hope and healing to the faithful few that support me and my music.”
While touring is rewarding, it comes with some downsides, especially he ages, he said. Traveling takes a toll on his psyche and his back. It’s also hard to break even or make money on tour. But the negatives don’t compare to the joy of doing something he loves.
“Most of all, it’s enabled me to know with certainty that art is the voice of God when it’s used for good,” said Hill, who recently re-recorded and released a collection of songs that put him on the map as a country western artist called “ReRides.”
He sums up one of his concerts like this: “Six strings and an ultra-smooth tenor, great stories, cinematic imagery of the west and reconnection to family and faithful values with some blood, guts and horse manure thrown in. I give my heart and soul to anyone that will truly listen, and my greatest success is turning fans into friends.”
IF YOU GO
WHO: Brenn Hill
WHEN: 7 p.m. Saturday, April 14
WHERE: Artisans at the Dahmen Barn, 419 N. Park Way, Uniontown