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Gems to be found among new Canadian releases

Scott Dunbar - “Two Years To Live”


Youth Correspondent

Throughout the past week I had the opportunity to review some new music from up and coming Canadian artists. Each album was a completely different genre from the next, and I can’t say that I adored every single track but that is to be expected.

Trying to be as objective as possible, I gave them all a good listen, and here is what I found. Enjoy.

Fine Canadian Forces - “Hebrew Lessons”

What captured me instantly at the beginning of this album was the instrumentation. Lots of percussion, which was in no way limited to the average drum set, gave some creative rhythms and a different sound. This album is soothing and mellow, with nice bass and guitar. At times, however, I found that the vocals became rather monotonous, and were almost drowned out by the instruments.

I liked the chill atmosphere of this album, and would definitely recommend listening to this while relaxing at home, perhaps during a light snowfall. I can’t say I enjoyed the whole thing, but I was absolutely entranced by their cover of “Higher Love.” The harmonies were fantastic.

Cheryl Thibideau - “Paper Fire”

Cheryl Thibideau has an old-school country style (mainly due to the use of the pedal steel in her band) that reminded me of those old time western dances. I hear Patsy Cline and Dolly Parton influences and a bit of early Juice Newton.

She sings of heartache and love, with perfect beats to partner dance to. However, I found her lyrics to be unoriginal and borderline cheesy. There was no “wow” factor in this album. It’s been done before by girls who did it better.

Amy Cunningham - “To The Stars We’ll Return”

I thoroughly enjoyed this album. Amy Cunningham has a lightly country sound, with hints of bluegrass and folk, accompanied by fresh and crisp acoustic guitar and great vocals. Anyone who listens to Jewel’s latest CDs will love this girl. Her lyrics are easy to relate to without being simple, the production quality of the album is very good, and there is enough variety from track to track to keep listeners interested.

I’d recommend this CD for anyone who enjoys some easy listening. It’s not depressing and it’s not forced sunshine. It’s real, and down to earth, which is becoming a very rare quality in the music industry.

I can’t wait to hear more from this girl.

Scott Dunbar - “Two Years To Live”

Another easy listening, folk-inspired album, Scott Dunbar’s two-disc album is my absolute favourite of the selections I was given to review. I’m a tad biased, because I love the alternative genre, and Dunbar absolutely blew me away.

Catchy percussion, lots of acoustic guitar, and deep lyrics are always what attract me first. But as I listened to the album further, I discovered a lot of truth and vulnerability in Scott Dunbar’s work. His lyrics are full of metaphors and honest feelings on Barack Obama, the oil industry, fighting to be individualistic and even a little bit of raw love. I heard a strong Bob Dylan influence, both in the sound and the “I’ll say what I want” attitude. If you want to hear someone with something to say, listen to Scott Dunbar.

And there you have it. These talented artists could be the next big thing. Please, please, please support them, and in turn, support the arts in our nation. There are some beautiful musical gems hidden in all that other rubble, but you have to search for them.