Treml Schuier Rill
'Heart & Soul & Rock'n'Roll'

(Self-Released, 2014)

by Johanna B. Bodde

Treml Schuier Rill
'Heart & Soul & Rock'n'Roll'
(Self-Released, 2014)

Markus Rill likes to collaborate and he is very good at the art of collaboration. Not only with his own band The Gunslingers, also with American musicians and with fellow singer-songwriters - like our favorite Swedish lady Annika Fehling! I think collaborations are always interesting, as they often tend to bring out unexpected sides of the artists involved.

Here is the latest: Hubert Treml, Franz Schuier and Markus Rill. The first two names are new to me, but they have been one of Bavaria's best-loved musical duos for more than a decade now. They started out translating Bruce Springsteen’s songs into their regional "Oberpfälzischen" dialect but have long become known for their own stirring melodies, humor and thoughtful lyrics. What do they have in common with our friend Markus Rill and his music - as we know him here already for a long time?

Hubert Treml and Markus Rill met way back, while they were students and they still agree on what makes a song great: melody, lyric
and emotion. Treml and Schuier, better known as "b.o.s.s." decided to release a new album, a special project honoring Bruce Springsteen on his 65th birthday. Markus has translated some of his favorite original Treml & Schuier songs from their Bavarian dialect into English and sung them. The combination of fresh, optimistic arrangements and Rill’s rasp of a voice makes for a convincing, versatile album between 'springsteenesque' rock’n’roll, soul and folk rock. It turned out to be a fresh-sounding, moving, unaffected collection of songs.

1. "Heart & Soul & Rock'n'Roll': Starting out right away with the title track, a powerful roots rock song reminiscent of the early Springsteen LPs. Franz Schuier is an excellent keyboard player and Markus Rill's trademark sandpaper vocal is a perfect fit. Heart, Soul as well as Rock'n'Roll - it's all there as promised.

2. "Elvis Is Alive": A couple of guest musicians are brought in for this touching slow ballad, which makes me think of Steve Earle's "Little Rock'n'Roller". Jörg Szameitat plays beautiful harmonica solos, we hear Robert Hasleder on mandolin and Weissenborn lap steel.

3. "Girl On The A-Train": Tom Waits wrote his best song about girls on the downtown subway train. There are not many other songs about the subject, but this is a convincing soulful approach by these German gentlemen, even with a saxophone played by Martin Jungmeyer. About the girl they used to love seeing on the way to school or work!

4. "More Than You Need": A poignant piano ballad, remembering a deceased father and his teachings. Smart yet uncomplicated songwriting, the original idea as well as the translation, I'm sure many people can relate to stories like this one. Robert Hasleder is back here, with the Weissenborn.

5. "Jane": Back to uptempo with this upbeat rocker, which would do great at any outdoor festival, just sing along!

6. "Pony On The Plains": A pony and a girl - we get the picture! This is a slow song with beautiful keys again and Markus plays the harmonica himself now.

7. "Tomorrow It Will": Intriguing intro on an acoustic guitar, the other guitars join in... "From up there in space / The blue planet looks like a beautiful place." By now I've fallen in love with the gorgeous sound of that Weissenborn!

"For So Long": Optimistic sounds in a song about a perfect love, nice chorus too! The only track with a violin (Markus Koppe).

9. "Angel On The Stairs":  Who wouldn't like to have an angel on the stairs - to watch over you? Apparently inspired by a children's book. Intricate, perfectly timed playing. This might be my favorite track on the album...

10. "Secret Path": Ah, a song about vinyl singles! With a fitting sound harking back to the sixties. The power of love and a needle hitting the record.

11. "Snuggle Up, Little One": A cosy little winter lullaby. Glockenspiel or sleigh bells? The mandolin is back too.

12. [Bonus Track] "More Than You Need" (alternative version): Another take on the song, at first just an acoustic guitar and a heartfelt vocal, the piano and harmonica join in much later.
This interesting collection of songs, created by an unexpected combination of talents, certainly comes as a pleasant surprise! Superb playing of all the musicians involved. The whole translation concept works very well and gives more people a chance to enjoy songs they otherwise wouldn't be able to fully understand.
Written by Johanna J. Bodde - October 25th, 2014.