Tuesday, November 7, 2017


There are going to be musicians out there cursing and swearing when they hear this latest from Ontario's Ballantyne. A longtime songcrafter who has worked with Big Sugar, Tim Chiasson and The Trews, for his latest, he set a goal of doing a song a month. And while most writers struggle to come up with a few ideas and sounds to come base an album around, Ballantyne came up with a dozen varied numbers, with different styles and wide-ranging lyrics, each one beating the next, in hooks or words or smarts.

There's also an interesting feel to the set, not as basic as demos, but not heavily produced either. Bass, drums, guitars, keys, it's all there but sounding homespun as well. It lets you hear that these could go in any number of directions in the pop/rock/roots field. Also, we're getting a glimpse at the solid foundation and strong frame of a good song, before all the shiny bits are added.

Those envious songwriters will no doubt scream in frustration at their idle keyboards when they hear lines like "even Jesus with a GPS/could only make an education guess," from Mirror Mirror. The dark, Rubber Soul-era sound on 25 Feet of Snow is a lesson in how to borrow and turn it into something new, and Canadian too. Stay In Heaven flat-out rocks, one of several here where Ballantyne plays all the instruments himself, right down to the pseudo-saxes, and it's immediately followed by My Excellent Boy, a tender tribute that comes from the Nillson/Sexsmith school of sentiment. Not a bad year's worth of work.

1 comment:

  1. What a great concept! And I love the cover photo - it's James Bond-esque! Thanks for the review ... will check it out. <3