Thursday, November 17, 2016


Here's the second collection from the Campbellton, N.B. bluesy writer and singer, featuring an inspired leap from his debut. It all started with a trip to Dublin two years ago, that saw Richard wandering somewhat blindly around the ancient city, impressions that inspired and formed this set of seven tracks. It's not a Celtic influence though, at least not musically, but there are moments of intensity, a haunted tone and something old and mysterious.

I love the way this album sounds, which is unlike anything I can easily summon up for comparison. Echo and empty spaces are used to great effect in places, the cut I Can't Help It in particular sounding like it's come from some thick-walled old prison. Then there's the guitar work by a rotating group that features Keith Hallett, Carter Chaplin, Marc Doucet and Christien Belliveau, Producer Mike Trask sets it apart in the sound, with sizzling effects and nasty bites, an altogether fascinating sonic palette.

Volumes Of Beautiful Words has a huge guitar effect throughout, an eerie squall like the wind from an oncoming storm. Meantime, Richard is weaving in some magical words: "Neither volumes of beautiful words or an understanding of the rule of thirds can help you now," the rule of thirds being a photographer's technique to compose a shot by breaking the image into three vertical and horizontal lines.

I Wish You'd Come With Me features soulful horns, a passionate vocal, but again a wild tone and surprising but very effective guitar notes from Marc Doucet, like a blues version of Lindsey Buckingham. Black Church is a tour-de-force which follows a drunkard through the Dublin streets, while more wild, mysterious guitar follows Richard's vocal through the lengthy journey. It features a full confession when the protagonist faces the priest: "He could swear he heard a snicker from the vicar's side of the booth." Nice internal rhyme, that.

I like how the set starts with a somewhat normal cut, I Fall Apart, which features some Hendrix-inspired salvos, and ends on a relatively familiar ballad style with All The Proof I Need, but goes in so many surprising and fulfilling ways throughout. I'm going to have to champion this one.

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