Reviewed by Harry Kaplan
“Sometimes there’s a man… I won’t say a hero, ’cause, what’s a hero? But sometimes, there’s a man. And I’m talkin’ about the Dude here. Sometimes, there’s a man, well, he’s the man for his time and place. He fits right in there. And that’s the Dude, in Los Angeles.” —The Big Lebowski
Actually I am not referring to the Dude from Big Lebowski here, I am referring to David Hallam. Hallam, who goes by the moniker of Hallam Highwater, is an extremely talented singer/songwriter from Canada. He is not a household name in the US, but he should be. Your Ancient Eyes EP is comprised of four original compositions and a soulful cover of Bob Dylan’s She Belongs To Me. It is certainly appropriate that Hallam should pick a Dylan song to cover since the similarities are hard to ignore. Hallam’s pitch and delivery are very similar to Dylan’s; however, Hallam is more harmonic than Dylan ever was. When you listen to Your Ancient Eyes, you get the sense that he is the perfect fit for his place and time. And, his singing style and instrumentation complement his compositions perfectly.
The first track on the EP, Ancient Eyes is an upbeat number that tells the story of unrequited love. It is a bittersweet tale, but very easy on the ears. It has a Tex Mex feel to it as well. The next track is a softer ballad entitled Even If. Again, the theme seems to be about love. The song is backed by singer Tara Hollingsworth. In fact, all songs are backed by Hollingsworth. She is the right singer for her place and time and also for this release. Her voice is perfectly married to Hallam’s vocals. In Your Eyes (Track 3) is a beautiful number that I want to play over and over again. Extremely infectious and sing able. She Belongs To Me (Track 4) does Dylan justice. I am a big fan of cover songs if they are performed properly. What I mean is that you can still recognize the original, but you would never mistake the cover FOR the original. Also, it has to be sonically pleasing. This passes the litmus test and then some. Upon Your Shoulders (Track 5) is a perfect windup for this EP.
All the songs clock in at over four minutes, and Even If comes in at close to seven minutes. Even though the tracks are longer that the normal “pop” songs, they do not seem too long or hard to make it through the entire number without fast forwarding. The song length is perfect for this time and place. Lebowski references aside, this is a wonderful EP and the only complaint is that is an EP. I want more. Please Mr. Hallam, give us more! You can buy this EP at the Mighty Speck Records Bandcamp site.