Tuesday, January 16, 2018


Anyone that balances a career in music with a day job as a teacher deserves big kudos right off the bat. B.C.'s Sainas won a 2015 Juno at the MusiCounts Teacher of the Year, passing on his music and recording knowledge to secondary school students. Meanwhile, he's best known leading the blues group Mud Dog, which has been tearing it up for 20 years in Vancouver.

Now, Sainas shows another side, focusing on his songwriting skills for this largely acoustic collection. That doesn't mean it's soft; drummer Kelly Stodola and bassist Chad Matthews are around to add a fine groove throughout, and there's lots of energy in the guitar playing from Sainas as well. For these songs, he moves into more singer-songwriter/roots style than blues, with lots of emotion on display. Not love song-emotion, but rather personal happiness that we all strive for, including concerns about what's happening in our communities and societies.

You could dwell on those topics for a long time and get pretty depressed, but instead Sainas comes at it with a positive message, offering us a glimpse of hope. The title cut sees him wondering why we can't just live a less-complicated, more satisfied life, while My Darkest Days Are Done and Everything's Gonna Be Alright offer good advice to all of us, disguised as personal pep talks. I can see why he's considered such an inspirational teacher.

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