The Buddhist is the fourth album of the little known American singer songwriter Kye Alfred Hillig. Hillig began recording in 2012, and has increased in popularity and skill over this time. His latest album is his most solid yet, a collection of hauntingly reflective songs touching on subjects that most of us would rather block out and ignore. The songs come from the heart and despite their difficult nature he does not approach them with anger, sadness or resentment, but rather an acceptance that alludes to the albums title.
Hillig’s style is reminiscent of old American country and folk; his chords are melodious and transition between happy relaxed summer sounds to more melancholic notes depending on where the song is heading. His lyrics come across almost Smith’s like at times, but without the self pity and angst. They move from grieving tones to uplifting harmonies as he finds his way through the story he is telling.
The album fails to have a dud song with each working its way into the next, but the highlights are definitely ‘My Young Love Was As Blind As Ray Charles And Half As Cold As Heat’ and ‘I’m Alive Because of Nuclear Bombs’. The first one of the more melancholic songs about young love and ambitions, reflects upon the slow realisation that we all have as we grow older that we aren’t destined to become famous, that we don’t really know what we want and that the world’s just not what we thought it was. The second is a truly beautiful song; although a difficult subject, Hillig approaches it authentically and unadulterated. He makes you consider your place within this world, all the events that have lead up to your existence and the moral ambiguity of it all.
Overall Hillig is a deserving up and coming artists who is sure to appear more in the music world over the coming years. All of his albums are available for free on bandcamp. So if heartfelt truths and country and folk guitar are your thing, check it out. It would be nice to see him get off the ground. However, copies of The Buddhist are set to go on sale early next year due to Hillig’s growing success.
By George Haslem