One thing you are going to see a lot in the next couple weeks on here are album reviews….that’s just my own brain thinking I got to get all the 2009 album reviews I want to review in before the year is over. What we have here is the Canadian edition of the album review roundup with 6 groups from various locations in the great white north.
Carolyn Mark & NQ Arbuckle – Let’s Just Stay Here
Here is a damn fine collaborative album from two great Canadian acts. If you guys remember, NQ Arbuckle made one of my favorite albums of last year, and this album is no let down. Carolyn’s serene vocals blend perfectly with Neville Quinlan’s slight rasp and the band’s rowdy but restrained twang. Another Canadian you guys may have heard of named Corb Lund makes a surprise appearance on the track Saskatoon Tonight. This album is up there with my favorites and each subsequent listen reveals something else. A very multi layered album and recommended to any reader of the site.
Listen to Carolyn Mark & NQ Arbuckle – The Second Time here
You can buy Let’s Just Stay Here…..here
Blue Rodeo – Things We Left Behind
Blue Rodeo are something of an institution in Canada. Centered around Greg Keelor and Jim Cuddy they have been making music for well over twenty years. This double album find the band in very tight form mining sounds from throughout their career. I will admit the first track “All The Things That Are Left Behind” had me wanted to hit the skip button….that is until the chorus came in….which is such a good chorus it saves the whole song. What this album really reminds me of is an amalgamation of just about every early 70’s California country-rock band. From Poco & the Burritos to The Eagles and Jackson Brown. Actually I get a real heavy “Saturate Before Using” era Jackson Brown vibe off this along with a slight Tom Petty vibe. Recommended for any fan of that easy going country-rock sound (cause there is a lot of that on here) and fans of country rock in general.
Listen to Blue Rodeo – Never Look Back here
You can buy Things We Left Behind here
The Dustin Bentall Outfit – Six Shooter
This one is maybe my favorite of the bunch, but that may just be the honeymoon talking. It’s definitely one of my favorite recent discoveries. This guy reminds me of Hayes Carll when he first started out. Just full of piss, vinegar and great songs. He’s got a very distinct voice that works perfect for this music. I would recommend this for fans of Hayes Carll, Ryan Bingham, Corb Lund, Chris Knight, hell anyone who likes their country with a lot of edge. I don’t really know what to say about this other than listen to the sample cause this is a damn good album!
Listen to Dustin Bentall Outfit – Draft Dodger here
You can buy Six Shooter here
Headwater – Lay You Down
Hailing from Vancouver, these guys are playing a blend of bluegrass inflected americana not unlike the Wrinkle Neck Mules. These guys let their bluegrass influences show a lot more than the mules though. One of my favorite things is the killer dobro playing all over it. One of the standout tracks on here is a cover of fellow Canadian Fred Eaglesmith’s “Freight Train”. This album is recommended for fans of Wrinkle Neck Mules, Bad Livers, The Steeldrivers, The Pines, The Avett Brothers, and The Fox Hunt.
Listen to Headwater – Freight Train here
You can buy Lay You Down here
Huntley Slim & The Suburban Cowboys – Songs From This Chicken Coop
Now I’m going to tell you right off the bat that this review is going to pale in comparison to the review that was recently posted over at My Aimz Is True. So I will just hit the highpoints. Huntley Slim are very much a traditional bluegrass band…well not too traditional, but they certainly know where their roots are. This album true to it’s title, was recorded in an actual chicken coop. How’s that for atmosphere? I mentioned in the Headwater review that I loved the dobro all over it, and well I’m going to have to say the same thing for this one. Some killer dobro all over this thing. Recommended for fans of The Fox Hunt, Wrinkle Neck Mules, Old Crow Medicine Show, and the local bluegrass jam.
Listen to Huntley Slim – Suburban Blues here
You can buy Songs From This Chicken Coop here
Blackie and The Rodeo Kings – Swinging From The Chains Of Love
This one is actually a best of, but it’s a damn fine compilation I have to say. Now I’m a fairly recent fan of Blackie and The Rodeo Kings so this CD is one I’ve been spinning a lot this year. Featuring one of my favorite covers which is their psycho blues romp of Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues”. This is really a great intro, and damned near essential for any fan of americana/alt country/decent music. That is if you aren’t already familiar with this band. I guess I should give some background. Blackie and the Rodeo Kings are a supergroup of sorts of Canadian music comprised of Tom Wilson, Stephen Fearing, and Colin Linden. They formed in 1996 as a tribute group to Canadian legend Willie P. Bennett (you know the one Corb Lund sings about on the new album), and decided to record more albums after their initial tribute album. Glad they did. Recommended if you like blues influenced country with a healthy dose of rock.
Listen to Blackie & The Rodeo Kings – Swinging From The Chains Of Love here
You can buy Swingin’ From The Chains Of Love here