"Fantastic Indie/Americana ensemble The Hiders return with Penny Harvest Field (inspired by a simple but impressive charitable effort). This is the follow-up to the critically-acclaimed Valentine album, which garnered the band some label attention and national exposure thanks to fans at NPR and the World Café. The album marks the first appearance of new drummer Tony Franklin and new bassist Michael Horrigan on a Hiders CD; Horrigan is known for his work with local faves like The Love Cowboys, Throneberry and The Afghan Whigs (more recently, he played with The Raconteurs' Brendon Benson). Penny Harvest Field (which contains a few more "rockers" than the debut) was again recorded in Nashville with Brad Jones, save a couple of tracks done here in Cincinnati with John Curley."
- Mike Breen CITYBEAT
"...Penny Harvest Field sounds like a perfect amalgam of Americana influences, from Neil Young to Son Volt, from Emmylou Harris to Oakley Hall. The title track is full of lyrics of unlucky symbols and resolves with the lines, “I’m lying like a penny/ Facedown on the ground/ I wish someone would pick me up/ But they all think I’m bad luck.” All of the songs that I’ve heard from this album are addictive and more captivating with each listen..."
The city of Cincinnati has a fine jazz-folk tradition, perhaps most recently embodied by the duo Over the Rhine. Bill Alletzhauser, a former multi-instrumentalist with the late, great Ass Ponys, extends that tradition admirably with his current band, The Hiders. On their latest release, Alletzhauser and company provide a harvest full of heartfelt melancholia and frustration, creating a gorgeous Americana album in the process.
The Hiders consists of Alletzhauser (vocals/guitar/lyrics), accompanied by Michael Horrigan (bass), Tony Franklin (drums) and Beth Harris, whose robust harmonies are reminiscent of Emmylou Harris. The quartet draws obvious comparisons to Neil Young, The Band, and Sparklehorse, yet they stand on their own creative feet. At times, Alletzhauser's voice recalls the sadness of Ryan Adams, his guitar playing covers chord progressions quickly like Elliott Smith, and his harmonies with Harris are as perfectly melded as Damien Jurado's are with Rosie Thomas. Essentially, The Hiders transcend the predictable practice of merely blending genres together and create a sound that is undeniably unique. The foursome are recognizably independent in every way.
Their latest album, Penny Harvest Field, is a mesmerizing collection of songs that could easily be labeled as folk music. These compositions are set apart by Alletzhauser's attention to details and honest lyricism, though. The album opens with “Plastic Flowers,” a song detailing the paradox one feels after a breakup: “You were the prettiest thing I ever did see/But I can’t even look at you, I can’t even look…Come back to me!” “You’re Going” is a tightly looped melody that carries Alletzhauser’s sadness until he can finally say, “There’s no surprises anymore/There’s no surprises when you say/You’re going.” The title track, in particular, is a work of poetry that sticks in your head long after it stops playing: “I’m laying like a penny/Face down on the ground I wish someone/Would pick me up/But they all think I’m bad luck.” With Penny Harvest Field, The Hiders have proven that Cincinnati's great musical tradition is still alive and well.