Friday, July 13, 2007

Reviews:: Jim Bryson Where the Bungalows Roam

Jim is a talent that Canadians should be aware of, but he tends to play the back instead of standing up demanding to be heard. He's been a part of Kathleen Edwards and Howie Gelb's bands (along with countless other projects), in addition to some fantastic solo records that never seem to get the attention they deserve. His latest, Where the Bungalows Roam, is an album I find myself listening to a lot as the season changes here in Vancouver.

This is a record I should have talked about before, as it has spent hours on repeat when I write and enjoy the morning quiet. The record is filled with beautiful sadness, the type that might overwhelm you on gray Vancouver mornings, but seems somewhat comforting when accompanied by the warming sun. The record opens with Flowers, a nostalgic tale of regret, and Jim uses only enough notes that are required to push the tune along. The arrangement is delicate and feels almost isolated (despite the harmonies, piano, and steel guitar), much like the lyrics.

The pace is hastened slightly on If By the Bridge, which is a more summery tune. It floats by like a gentle updraft, lifting your spirits, despite Jim lamenting that everyday is the same as the day before. That's probably what is so great about this record. Jim tells vivid stories of sadness, but never do the songs become drama filled and they are always paired nicely with light, pleasant sounds that draw you closer, like you are waiting to hear him tell you his most precious secrets (like the piano and finger picking on one of the best songs - Clear the Crowds). He transports you just as easily on the contradicting Blood on the Slacks. The guitar riff makes you want to move around, despite the fact he's praying for the end of a bad relationship.

The banjo laced Fire Watch is another treat. Honestly, I can't think of a better word to describe it than breathtaking. The slight electro current that runs through the channels casts a new tempo on the song, but the slow bowed strings helps it fit perfectly into the overall vibe of the record. Its such a good record, you can listen to it over and over again, and constantly change which song is your favorite.

Anyway, I've gushed enough. To any fans of great folk music, don't sleep on this great record. It is more than worth your while.
MP3:: If By the Bridge
Stream:: Where the Bungalows Roam
MP3:: Swinging Party (Paul Westerberg cover)
Stream:: Jim live @ the Black Sheep Inn via CBC radio

web site :: label :: more mp3s

Posted at 1:23 PM by ack :: 0 comments

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