Flat-picking is a guitar technique most commonly found in bluegrass music. Dillon Hodges is an American singer-songwriter who has had some experience with this style, winning 14 total flat-picking competitions in four years. Rumspringa, his latest album, is filled with songs that make use of his expertise, including the opening track, “Hills Of East Tennessee.” Instruments like the banjo and other strings create a haunting melody before the track gets faster near the end. Strings that add to the upbeat tone are also present on “The Night My Heart Disappeared.” Backing vocals are used on this song as well as on “The Proof.”

The album features a couple female singers on select tracks, including the duet on “The Garden/The Moth.” Lost love is a common theme on the record, found on “Nightmares” and “Bullet For A Broken Heart.” These tracks discuss the act of losing your love while others reflect on the aftermath. “Take These Hands” and “Movin’ On” discuss this idea on rather different approaches. “Take These Hands” is a slower song focused on picking, as the guitar follows the vocal pattern. The tune ends with Hodges’ vocals, providing the ability to hear the emotion in his voice. “Movin’ On” is more upbeat, as Hodges looks towards the future. Emotion is portrayed differently in the title-track and “Mother Praying.” Percussion and strings are present on both of these songs to provide provoking melodies.

You don’t have to be a bluegrass fan to enjoy the album. As a successful storyteller, Hodges uses several different instruments, along with lyrical content, to instill emotion. This record exemplifies why people have strong ties to music. Hodges lets us in, connects, and sends us on our way so that we can move on.

In A Word: Provoking

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