Erstwhile record store assistant's debut gives country blues a modern, British twist
Understandably, Hayley Willis decided to drop the Christian name for her full-length debut. Gender is incidental to the emotional impact of her blues-drenched, country-toned soul, which nips all preconceptions about a record store assistant turned recording artist in the bud. Come Get Some reflects empathy with Carole King and Joni Mitchell and a love of Etta James and Aretha Franklin, but although a nuggety, old-school feel dominates, it’s filtered through an awareness of contemporary British soul and hip hop. Willis’ gorgeously gritty wail, which carries her from breezy scat to impassioned hollering, may well be the best new voice to have surfaced here in years.