The talented guitar player from Hamilton has been a mainstay on the scene there, working with talented friends (Harrison Kennedy, Marta Pacek) and equally-talented family (wife Kim, daughter Marra, son Jordan). But after 20-plus years in that career, he's stepped up front on this debut album. Like all well-traveled sidemen, he has experience in several styles, so this is a varied and wide-ranging collection.
Lead track I'm Already Down has a country-roots feel, a solid strummer with organ and lots of guitar lines shot through. My Life goes further down that roots road, this time with pedal steel and piano. The tempo picks back up for Winter Dream, some good-time rock on this one. Reckless Train lets Koren get into an outlaw sound, with some driving acoustic, bottleneck and a some nasty electric, as he handles all the guitar parts.
Halfway through the 10-track album, Koren moves on from the roots tracks to some broader, more experimental works. The title cut is a lengthy, mysterious number, built on power atmospheric guitar layers. Water Dance has shots of percussion and burbling keys, hypnotic and funky. And the group really gets a groove on for the closer, Look But Never Touch, with beatbox vocals and a Robert Palmer feel.
Koren will launch the album Saturday, Nov. 14 with a show at The Casbah in Hamilton.