Here's a labour of love, a love of travel, and a travail to put together in trying Covid times. The Sun Harmonic is the band project of Kaleb Hikele, who does all sorts of styles awesomely. This album was a road trip, quite literally recorded as he crossed from the Pacific to the Atlantic in 2018, indoors and out, onstage and off. While the recordings proper happened in Vancouver Island, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Halifax, bits and pieces were collected, added, and inspired by spots large and small. "Flying Over Saskatchewan" takes its title from the obvious, while some ocean waves were recorded on Cape Breton Island to give the true coast-to-coast flavour.
At the same time, Hikele avoided the obvious cliches, and didn't get bogged down in naming-checking lots of places or writing about Canada. Instead, the inspirations are more personal and subtle, with love for family being the larger theme. "Ocean"may mention on island on the west coast, but it's about a much-loved child. "Build A Boat" is a metaphor for finding a way past troubles, sailing on positivity. As a whole, the album is about the people and the places we hold in our hearts.
"Flying Over Saskatchewan" is an acoustic rave-up, with some fine riffs and gang vocals in the chorus, fast and fun. But for the most part, these are lovely, touching songs, gently performed, highlighted by Hikele's tender voice. The highlight is the closing track, "The Grand Old Lady Sails Away," apparently the last performance on the stage of Massey Hall before its major reno. Recorded with one mic in front of a small group of people, the fitting tribute to the hall is quite beautiful, and shows just how pure his voice is.
The album is being launched in stages; You can buy an early copy now on vinyl and CD, and digital downloads and streaming will arrive Oct. 1. All the info is at https://thesunharmonic.bandcamp.com/