Friday, January 8, 2010

Reviews:: Scott MacLeod Old Soul

A few months ago, Craig over @ started a 'finger pointing, pass the buck session' amongst a few Canadian bloggers that enjoy the roots music. "Sure, I might have missed out on Cam Penner, but so did X, Y and Z! And they live closer to him!"

Since that time, it's been nice to see Cam's record - Trouble & Mercy (review) - show up on some best of lists and really shine a light on the amazing Alberta roots/country scene, but more importantly it's made me recalibrate my daily searches to include significantly more Albertans. Specifically - fearing another scolding - whenever I get a request from Calgary, I scan the details like an old fashioned detective, complete with magnifying glass, pipe and oddly constructed hat.

The latest artist to cross my path is PEI transplant and Calgary resident, Scott MacLeod. A seasoned story teller and song writer, Old Soul may only be Scott's second full length, but it takes on the aura of a veteran musician that is completely comfortable with his style and sound, and plays music with his friends because it's all he's ever wanted. MacLeod is lucky enough to have some extremely talented friends - Lorrie Matheson produced and played on the record, as did Cam Penner and Brooke Wylie (and many others) - but he manages to fuse the unique collection of voices and textures into a seamless tapestry without losing control of the songs.

Old Soul, like the title indicates, takes the listener back to simpler times. Whether it's the vivid image we all have of coal mines, the romantic feel of watching the world fly by your window on a long train trip or painful memories his family past down of the 1940's flood, MacLeod's voice is like an aural time machine. Remarkably though, he doesn't let the burden of nostalgia drag down the listener, often adding bursts of electric (Grain Elevators, Standing Still), group sing-alongs (on the terrific Drank the Ocean Dry and the fun closer Day by Day), beautiful harmonies or effortless shifts from full band arrangements to more stripped down confessionals.

MacLeod is never going to be a name that dominates the blog world - right now there is exactly 0 posts on with featuring his music - or find a home among the blindly loyal country fans that simply want to sing along to country pop anthems, but he's a roots artist that will still be writing songs long after the popular sound stops including lap steel. Gritty songs like Let You Down fit nicely alongside more traditional numbers and show that MacLeod can write albums that fit your mood, whether it's simply for a casual listen, a tear-in-your -beer evening after love runs you over once again or when you and your friends just want to hoist some drinks and laugh.

MP3:: Scott MacLeod - Drank the Ocean Dry

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Posted at 7:16 AM by ack :: 0 comments

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