Songlines - Album Review

Written by Jeff Kauss

Heartfelt Canadiana - a small glory of an album.

In more than one aspect, this is a unique recording of a new group uniting two stars based in and around Winnipeg, Manitoba: Cara Luft and JD Edwards. It's unique in it's compelling, dramatic evocation of place - in this case Canadian prairie. It's unique in that the mostly original material is so artfully composed and arranged and the lyrics so sincere that it's hard to imagine any other artists being able to cover these songs. And it's unique in that, despite these shinning qualities, the production (by Neil Osborne, who's also heard on the percussion and hand claps) is never stifling and is at time remarkably minimal, most notably on "Old Garage". Singer-songwriters everywhere should examine this delivery of ballads and anthems dealing in the heartwarming fashion with love, ecology, and universal existential predicaments. The close vocal harmonies are clearly and beautifully intoned, and the instrumental work is virtuosic - not least Luft's clawhammer banjo. Luft has previously excelled in The Wailin' Jenny's, and Edwards in his own eponymous ensemble, but we should hope that they and their bandmates here will have more to offer us, live and on record, and that this is not simply a one-off.

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