WUMB January Program Guide

Troubled Times – New Recordings from North of the Border

In just the last couple of months new albums have arrived from three of my favorite Canadian Singer/Songwriters. All three arrived with basically the same message: recorded after suffering some troubled times.

 

Laura Smith’s “Everything in Moving” is her first in 16 years. It comes after years away from the music scene because of a series of debilitating accidents which manifested in chronic pain. The good news is that after overcoming her dependency on prescription drugs through the adoption of non-narcotic pain treatment therapies she is doing well and has not only returned to recording but preforming. Her previous discs have been, for the most part, all original affairs, though she gained some notoriety for her recasting of “My Bonny Lies Over the Ocean.” In this one she has recorded gorgeous and very personal versions of a pair of traditional songs as well as three by other authors. The remaining five are Laura originals that are simply stunning.

 

On one hand, over the last few years, Stephen Fearing has been busy with Blackie and the Rodeo Kings. On the other, he’s suffered through a divorce, moved to the east coast of Canada and had the recording of this project threatened by severe storms that, for the most part, missed New England but did major damage in Nova Scotia, his new home. Hence the name: “Between Hurricanes.” You’ll be pleased to know that this is not a down deal but is typical Fearing, mixing the playful with the reflective. One standout for me is a song about the Ocean Ranger tragedy. It was a semi-submersible mobile offshore drilling unit that sank off the coast of Newfoundland on February 15, 1982. All 82 crew members were lost and Stephan’s “Cold Dawn” stands with Ron Hynes “Atlantic Blue” as fitting memorials.

 

The latest to arrive was David Francey’s “So Say We All” It contains this message from David: “The songs on this album seem to me to encompass what proved to be a very difficult year. From the heights of joy to the depths of grief, the lesson learned was to celebrate every day spent on this side of the soil and to keep marching no matter what comes our way.”

 

That, I think, is good advice for us all, especially after the tumultuous April that we have just suffered through in our area.

-Dave Palmater
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