Ethan Crump (from the album Hellfire and Amazing Grace) - Listening to the words that Ethan Crump offers in his stories, his claim that ‘most of these songs are just stories that I felt compelled to tell, no fancy writing or pretty singing’ seems more matter-of-fact than modest. Hellfire and Amazing Grace is the debut E.P. from Ethan Crump, a nineteen year-old with a soul as old as the rural Georgia earth he calls home. Ethan speaks to love as he kicks off Hellfire and Amazing Grace on a shuffling bounce with a request to “Come on Home”. The album references his own life as well as offering a direct link back to the times of his grandparents in both the song and album title. Ethan speaks to the size of the album with a nod to another inspiration, citing that ‘Guy Clark used to say that he never did theme albums, he just picked ten or twelve of his best songs and put them on a record. I guess that’s what I’ve done with this record, except I only had five songs’.
A listen to Hellfire and Amazing Grace draws a line to another mentor, particularly on the title track. The student honors master songwriter (John Prine) with phrasing and characters as Ethan Crump deftly follows two humans through a life together as they maintain their own individuality while walking through “Hellfire and Amazing Grace”. The emotion of “Mason County Blues” is nearly physical as Ethan Crump relates family history over whispered finger picking and a hard-edged beat to keep his feet moving towards a tomorrow outside both his young age and surroundings. Hellfire and Amazing Grace presents five stories from Ethan, leaving listeners with the hope that his pen has a lot of ink. Soft breezes blow the melody under “Mary Ann” as Ethan Crump makes heartfelt promises as he remembers the lights of stages past while watching times take chunks out of his present life in “Waiting Here on You”.