An exquisite lead vocal is interwoven into a melody the strings are conjuring up just to the left of a harmonious flashpoint. It’s supple but directive, exposed but still guarded enough to get us to come just a little closer to our speakers. This voice belongs to none other than Bill Crews, the swaying instrumentation to his band the Crews Cartel in “Fire on the Mountain,” an all-new track melding elements of folk, country, pop, and new school Americana into a solidly experimental force to be reckoned with (one, I might add, that has become synonymous with Crews’ anything but conventional peers in Nashville.
The framework is fresh but the melodic charms in this track are anything but new to those of us who have been listening to Bill Crews’ music in the last year, and while there’s an argument to be made that we don’t learn anything new about his artistry in the three and a half minutes that “Fire on the Mountain” plays out, I don’t know that the purpose of its release was to inform the world of this singer/songwriter so much as it is to establish his as one of the best go-to players in or out of his scene at the moment.
Lyrically speaking, I think that this song is probably one of the more fluid tracks Bill Crews has recorded thus far in his career, but if we were to isolate the verses from the instrumentation and analyze the detail within and between the two, I don’t know that you could make a case for this being a purely a poetry showcase. Honestly, there’s a lot of magic transpiring in the beats and the elegant instrumental thrust they’re joined with here, and although there’s a lot of texture for us to explore and, eventually, interpret, I don’t think that anything in “Fire on the Mountain” could be described as overindulgent (at least not on paper).
Simplicity tends to win out in the select format that Bill Crews has designed his aesthetical attack around, and he’s wisely chosen to stick with its minimalist concepts in a song like this one. He’s wise beyond his years, and it doesn’t take a veteran critic to acknowledge his talent. There are a lot of incredible artists emerging from the underground both in the United States and overseas at the moment, but few – if any – of Bill Crews’ scene peers can say that they’ve been able to grow as much, nor as fast, as he has in just this last year alone.