Thursday, June 4, 2015


Best known as lead singer of the long-running Canadian reggae band The Sattalites, Hambleton's roots go even further back.  He's been a fixture of the Toronto community since the Yorkville era, part of the group A Passing Fancy.  He's also a true musical traveler, starting in folk, mixing in some jazz, becoming a horn player, blasting some New Wave, sliding into reggae, writing pop material, and wrapping it all up with exotic touches of world music from all over.

Hambleton's latest sees him touch on all that again, but mostly in an ear-pleasing, mature style, focusing on his smooth voice and easy-going vibe.  There's always the hint of the exotic to his songs, taking us outside Canada either musically or via images.  The Edge of the World, with Hambleton's mellow alto sax, goes on a Caribbean vacation, with a little mystery and romance, "where the sea meets the sky, stars are falling like diamonds at the edge of the world."  Both She's Gone Away and Never Givin' Up On Love include that pleasing groove The Sattalites are loved for, and has brought Hambleton a couple of Junos along the way.

Adult can be a derogatory term in music, but in this case it means seasoned and solid.  Joining Hambleton (long an accomplished player and educator) is a top-drawer team made up of co-producer George Koller on bass (Shuffle Demons, Peter Gabriel, Loreena McKennitt, etc.), drummer Gary Craig (Blackie & the Rodeo Kings), guitar player Tim Bovaconti (Ron Sexsmith, Bachman-Cummings) and others. All the cuts are originals except for an oldies cover of Sealed With A Kiss, with another stand-out found in The Time Of Your Life, which sounds like a '70's-era Lightfoot single.  This album is a feel-good pill.

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