Making the world a better place is a laudable goal but finding the appropriate way to direct your energies to that end is an often complicated and confusing quest.
Becoming more aware –of ourselves and of what’s around us– however, is most certainly indispensable to making our efforts effective and the nine songs on this international complication disc all share the quality of contributing to our understanding. While each is uniquely distinct in tone and lyrical focus, they all draw our attention to matters of substance, whether that be the plight of the victims of environmental disasters, the need to become spiritually centred or the challenges of working with one another.
Toronto Folk duo HOTCHA! decries the fate of an abandoned mining town on “Mines Went Down”. Erica James beautifully exhorts us to “Stand Strong” in the face of opposition and disbelief. Janet Bates utilizes an eerie, nearly medieval approach in hypnotically telling the story of a dispossessed waitress in “Prisoner Of New Orleans”. Brian Gladstone ardently urges us to remember that unpopular species need protection too in his “Save The Wolverine”, which also features his masterful picking style. The Kathryn Mostow Band reminds us that even a small group and small acts can change the world in “I Give Thanks”, Larry Brewer prescribes a “Brand New Revolution” with alt-Pop urgency and Susie and Phil remind us to “Have Fun While You’re Still Alive” in a playful bopping toe-tapper.
Whether uplifting, cautionary, informative or reassuring, the songs on this album provide food for thought delivered in an appetizing way.