Review – Hillary Scott & The Scott Family’s “Thy Will”

Hillary Scott Thy Will

One of the most popular acts of the mid to late 2000s was undoubtedly Lady Antebellum. They really blew up on everyone’s radars with their smash, crossover hit “Need You Now.” The group followed this up with a few more hits before the bro country era came around. Ever since then the only real hit the group achieved was “Bartender” and it heavily appealed to trends. Wisely, the group decided last year to go on hiatus for a while. A break was exactly what this group needed because clearly their brand of music didn’t fit current trends. Then it was announced Charles Kelley was forging a solo career and earlier this year released his solo debut album, which turned out to be an average album with a few nice songs. Now another member of Lady Antebellum is trying their hand at a solo career, lead singer Hillary Scott. The powerful front woman of Lady A has always been a good vocalist, but I’ve yet to hear a song since “Need You Now” that really showed off her strength. As a solo artist we should really get a chance to hear her at her best without the pressures of conforming to radio. Her new album will be Christian-based, showing off a side we really haven’t seen a lot from Scott. The lead single was just released and it’s titled “Thy Will.”

One thing that stands out right away about “Thy Will”: it’s much, much different from anything off of Lady Antebellum’s most recent album 747. The production isn’t overdone and the lyrics aren’t immature. It’s quite the opposite. The song is piano-based and serves as the main instrumentation throughout. Scott’s voice is clear as a bell and is allowed to be front and center. This is the Hillary Scott I’ve been waiting to hear. The song itself is about heartbreak, as Scott is clearly in pain from something that happened in her life. Scott hasn’t revealed what exactly she’s referring to and won’t answer what it is when asked. Scott turns to God in this time of pain, as she wonders why she’s feeling so much pain and worries about what is ahead in her life. Scott though realizes that she’s talking to God and that he has good plans in store and that she must be patient, as this heartbreak is all part of it. The song represents a significant spiritual moment for Scott, an epiphany for her pain. The production does a good job of bringing out the emotion of the song, as the song rises as the tone of the song lifts. In the beginning its somber, with only a lone piano. By the end it has reached bliss, represented by a soaring orchestra of instruments.

Overall “Thy Will” is a solid, coming to God song that fits Hillary Scott’s dynamic voice well. It gets back to the production of songs like “Need You Now” and “Love Don’t Live Here” that made Lady Antebellum so big and highlighted Scott’s big voice. The only complaint I have with this song is it can feel a little bit generic at times. It’s beautifully arranged, but can definitely feel too clean to some listeners and leave them wanting more “meat” to the song. Nevertheless this song has me interested in the album, as Scott exploring her spiritual and family side could make for some great music. Scott including her family on the album tells me how person this is to her, so I don’t expect any trend chasing. I doubt “Thy Will” gets big at country radio, but Christian-radio will definitely pick it up. If you’re a fan of Lady Antebellum or Christian-influenced music, I recommend checking this out. “Thy Will” is something you will enjoy.

Grade: 7/10

8 thoughts on “Review – Hillary Scott & The Scott Family’s “Thy Will”

  1. Raymond April 26, 2016 / 12:51 pm

    I’d argue the last time Hillary Scott had a passionate voice was probably “American Honey” (production did kind of ruin it a little).

    Now this song is one of my favorites, I admit I’m a little biased as Hillary Scott is one of my favorite vocalist just the material always could’ve been better. Josh, I hope you know it’s going to be an equal push to country and christian radio. Hillary Scott really evokes a lot of emotional depth and it really shows.

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    • Josh Schott April 26, 2016 / 12:57 pm

      They can push all they want. But it won’t make much impact. And they have yet to officially announce they’re pushing it to country radio, so you’re being presumptuous.

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      • Raymond April 26, 2016 / 1:06 pm

        Actually the add date for this song is May 9th for country radio as their was an add last night in Country Aircheck. So with an add date it’s clear there gonna push this to mainstream country radio. How well radio receives it is another thing however. With the lack of women and quality still overall plaguing country music. But the label is definitely pushing this to country and christian radio.

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  2. Kevin Davis April 26, 2016 / 12:53 pm

    Yeah, I hope that Christian radio picks this up. I stopped listening to CCM years ago because it was so formulaic, with rare exceptions like David Crowder Band and the always fantastic Needtobreathe (seriously, every country fan should listen to their album, ‘The Outsiders’, for some high quality Southern music). But my biggest complaint is the way most CCM artists sing, pitching their vocals in an almost whiny and exaggerated way in order to elicit the most emotional response. It is highly annoying. That is what makes this performance from Hillary Scott so refreshing. It’s a lovely vocal delivery, where the vocals do not get in the way of the song and the lyrics. Bravo.

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    • Derek Hudgin April 26, 2016 / 3:45 pm

      CCM is almost as bad as country when it comes to formulas and the kind of repetitive, generic lyrics that are found in many of the songs on CCM radio. “Thy Will” breaks away from that mold a bit, but the lyrics are still more fluffy than not. As Josh said, I’d like to hear more personal lyrics as to why she’s confused, why her heart is broken. But the vague lyrics will be what helps the song connect with more people, because anyone could take their current situation and apply the aforementioned emotional reactions to it.

      With that said, I do like the production and vocals of “Thy Will.” The delivery is excellent, and I can’t remember the last time I heard a song from Hillary Scott where I loved her vocals before this song.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Kevin Davis April 26, 2016 / 4:48 pm

        Yep, and CCM is based in Nashville too. Our church has a hard time finding decent praise songs from the past five or so years, but — on the plus side — we can just resort to singing the hymns and gospel classics, which I prefer anyway. Since we’re a Presbyterian church, all of the songs in worship have to be approved by the elders/pastors, as a way to insure quality control. So, all of the shallow and repetitive stuff is immediately excluded. In addition to our praise band, we have a classically-trained organist, so that helps!

        I agree with you and Josh that the lyrics are the weakest part of this song. They are borderline formulaic, but not in an aggressively bad way. And you make a good point about how the general nature of the lyrics allow for a more universal application. That is certainly true of the classic hymns: “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross,” “How Great Thou Art,” etc.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Maggie Joe April 26, 2016 / 3:56 pm

    This song WILL soar across genres. This is what people who don’t even know they need it, need to hear. That’s the beauty and the power of it. I disagree with the reviewer that it may sound generic and leaves some listeners wanting more “meat”. I wholeheartedly agree that it attains bliss!! Excellent!

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  4. Nadia Lockheart April 28, 2016 / 11:17 pm

    Hillary Scott can sound great when she really wants to be.

    “It Ain’t Pretty” is a perfect example of this off of “Golden”, as well as “Get To Me”. Obviously she sounded solid on their classic “Need You Now”. I also thought despite the terribly dull production of both that parent album and “Own the Night”, “Cold As Stone” allowed her an opportunity to showcase her vocal strengths well.

    Outside of those examples, though, it just seems Scott has struggled badly to maintain my interest as a vocalist.

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    She definitely provides her best vocal performance since “It Ain’t Pretty” here.

    I like that Scott doesn’t merely settle for a lukewarm “Hallelujah!” sort of worship song, and instead aims for a more nuanced and personal approach to a much-explored topic emotionally. The idea of coming to terms with the darkness to find the light makes for plenty of gripping vocal performances, and while I wouldn’t say Scott is among the greatest vocal interpreters, she definitely pulls this off as well as she can do.

    The production criticisms I’ve long had with Lady Antebellum are still intact here; but, much like with Blake Shelton’s “Savior’s Shadow”, the sincerity of these offerings wins points from me. You can tell both their debut Christian radio singles are coming from a real and honest place and so definitely succeed at being serviceable and easy to relate to.

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    There’s really not much more to say about this. It’s not mind-blowing or great, but it’s a good song and definitely makes me curious about how the rest of her passion project will turn out.

    I’m thinking a Strong 6 to a Light 7 for this.

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