Thursday, October 30, 2014


The return of Hamilton's semi-secret roots collective, bringing us more modern sounds in country and western music. These are seven solid and committed musicians, well-versed in folk, rock, and all the other vintage sounds, and they pack them into original, high-quality tunes. There's tons of interplay, from he-she vocals to assorted stringed things to real piano and organ, and no loops, beats or studio trickery.

The community vibe is heavy and healthy right across the album, the group's second after 2011's West Simcoe County. There's a respect here for the music, the members letting us know they feel honoured to be making these sounds, to be keeping the tradition going. Lead track Back Home (In The Valley) rings with pedal steel and a great Bakersfield groove, plus soulful harmonies from the great partnership of Brad Germain and Terra Lightfoot. That's followed up with a country-Gospel tune, I Might Do Everything Wrong, with a Revival Meeting flavour. Wandering Eye has some wild rockabilly crossed with saloon sounds, including a brilliant, brief piano break from Greg Brisco.

And so it goes, a different blend on each tune, written with care and love. There's lots of homage paid, but lots of little modern touches too, whether its some revved-up drums or an aggressive guitar part, just to remind us it's not all from the 60's. Some folks named Hudson, Manuel and Danko came out of these parts awhile back, and Dinner Belles show that lineage is strong.

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