Monday, October 18, 2021

MUSIC REVIEW OF THE DAY: JACLYN REINHART - SLEEP WITH GHOSTS


A significant step forward for this New Brunswick singer-songwriter, who put out an album and an E.P. in the 2010's. Now with a lot more confidence and development, Reinhart has worked hard finding the right framing for her personal lyrics. The result is a rootsier sound with tighter arrangements and some fine hooks and catchy choruses.

The songs on this five-cut E.P. tell of bad, regretful relationships and coming out the other side stronger. No tears needed now, she's got this covered: "You'll only see one finger when I say goodbye, in my rearview," she sings goodbye to a loser in lead single "Rearview." In "Last Disaster," she adds this bit of muscle to the same topic: "This story's over, I can close this chapter/you should know you'll be my last disaster." And she saves her most heartfelt words for her own healing, in "Apology": "Now I'm sorry -- this apology is for me."

Recorded and mixed by fellow N.B.-er John McLaggan of East Coast favourites Tomato/Tomato, this feels like a whole new start for Reinhart.

Friday, October 15, 2021

MUSIC REVIEW OF THE DAY: CAROLINE WILES - GRATEFUL


From the fertile Hamilton music scene, Wiles is a strong singer-songwriter who has the added blessing of a killer voice, emotive and rich. The leads and harmonies here are exceptional, and are wisely highlighted in the mix throughout. She has a voice you want to hear.

Her pop-folk material is lyrically strong as well, straight to the point, emotional and empowering, and the upbeat numbers like "Make A Memory With Me" are tailor-made with big hooks. They do tend towards '70's and '80's clean production, somewhat dated at times, but no problem if that's your era. Some more country-ish numbers later in the album, "Lovey Dovey" and "Old Country Song," benefit more from that approach, good ol' throwback country with a big voice and lots of fiddle. 

Catch her Saturday, Oct. 16 at the Moonshine Cafe in Oakville, ON.

Friday, October 1, 2021

MUSIC REVIEW OF THE DAY: JOHN WORT HANNAM - LONG HAUL


I haven't heard an album like this in awhile. Each song is simple, easy to take in, and utterly charming. They're built on clever lines, great humour, touching moments, worldly wisdom and sentimentality. Life, in all its beauty, confusion and irony. It's just the kind of record we loved John Prine for.

Hannam of course is no slouch as a writer. The Alberta troubadour has two decades worth of carefully-honed roots albums, but this one stands out. Not that he's reinvented the wheel, it's just that each song is bang-on, a collection where you go "Now that's a good one" with every new song. And you don't get used to them. Each time I've played this, the same thing has happened, where every one of the eleven tracks grabs my attention is some way.

It starts out that way with a great couplet, on lead track "Long Haul": "I ain't in it for the short term/I'm in it for the slow burn." In "Beautiful Mess," a duet with Shaela Miller, is a classic "We can't break up, who else would have us?" tune: "Oo wee baby, you and me are a tragedy/a shipwreck and a house ablaze/an earthquake and a tidal wave." And lines that might be too much like a Hallmark greeting card in a lesser writer's hands come out sincere and important from Hannam: "May you die young at heart at a ripe old age." Ain't life something? Don't overthink it.