Catfood Records 2014
Review by David Bowling
Daunielle (“Dawn-Yell”) Hill was born and bred in one of the meccas of soul music, Memphis, Tennessee. Her father was a member of the Mad Lads who recorded for the legendary Stax/Volt Label. She has spent her career as an in demand back-up and session singer, who has recorded with such artists as Solomon Burke and Huey Lewis and the News.
It’s always interesting when a lifetime session singer steps forward into the limelight to carry a whole album by in this case herself. She wisely stays close to home on most of the material combining songs by fellow label mates Sandy Carroll, Bob Trenchard, and James Armstrong plus a few originals.
She has a voice that is strong and flexible enough to sing soul, rhythm & blues, and pop with equal ease. She covers two classic songs. The old Etta James hit “Damn Your Eyes” is a straight forward tribute to one of her major influences. She plays with the tempos on “I Want To Take You Higher” before settling into a powerful vocal centered performance.
The best of her original compositions is “I Got A Voice,” which chronicles her medically challenged daughter’s struggles in life.
Daunielle’s self-titled debut album is centered on her strong voice. Hopefully it will be the beginning of a stellar solo career. It is one of those albums that sneaks up on you and deserves a listen.