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Hardly Clumsy: Emma Hill boards her own bus 

click to enlarge Emma Hill: Always up for a good disguise.
  • Emma Hill: Always up for a good disguise.
Emma Hill: Always up for a good disguise.
The last time Emma Hill played Bend, she told us about touring the West Coast by bus - Greyhound bus that is. We caught up with Hill on the eve of the release of her new record and a release party at the Tower Theatre and learned that she still plans on touring by bus this summer.

But this time it's her own bus - a "short bus" she bought from a church group in Arizona and plans to outfit with some personal touches before she and her band crisscross the country...after finishing up the school year at Portland State, of course. Transportation changes are not the only shift for Hill since she packed the Silver Moon in January of 2008, as evidenced by her new album, Clumsy Seduction. The record showcases the 21-year-old's gradual shift from songwriting darling to folk powerhouse. On Clumsy Seduction, Hill is backed by a six-piece band, thus changing the name of her act to Emma Hill and Her Gentleman Callers, and also allowing her to push her style closer to that of Neko Case (and sometimes Jenny Lewis) and away from the whimsical folkie she played (and played well) on her earlier release, Just Me.

The first reaction is to say the Alaska native has matured in her art, but Hill isn't necessarily fond of the term "matured," but says that it's natural for her style to shift as the years go by.

"As I get more and more experience under my belt, I'd expect that to keep happening," says Hill of the process.

The album is a tightly wound collection of love songs that Hill says isn't necessarily a concept album, but is, however, pieced together in a way that makes it flow nicely from end to end. Recorded over a four-month span in Portland, Clumsy Seduction features a long list of instrumentation including a full drum set, pedal steel, banjo and more.

"I felt that I was wanting to have more of a full band this time and I love how the album turned out," Hill says of the recording. "I think it's going to have that same feeling live." - Mike Bookey

Emma Hill and Her Gentleman Callers

7pm Saturday, April 25. Tower Theatre, 835 NW Wall St. $12, $15.

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