Monday, December 6, 2010

Best Year Ever for Ottawa Music? # 2

I would suggest that over at least the last 10 years, the artist who has received the most love on CKCU has been Jim Bryson. On a station that for the most part features the no-repeat year, Mr Bryson has been in regular rotation. I remember years ago at a Birdman Festivus party, John Westhaver introducing Jim by saying we were about to hear the most important singer/songwriter in Ottawa. If memory serves correctly this was before Jim had released his debut disc. John does not shower praise on people often so I listened carefully to Jim live and on his recordings and I have been doing so ever since. All of them are worth having in your collection and I think that his latest "The Falcon Lake Incident" is the best yet. It doesn't hurt that the Weakerthans play with him on this disc, they have been one of the best Canadian bands themselves over the last decade. Jim's voice just keeps getting better and better. It's warm, vulnerable and passionate. The music is of course roots rock of the finest kind and would not be out of place on an Uncle Tupelo disc. Recorded in a cabin during a frigid Manitoba winter, the disc is named after a UFO sighting from the late 60's that happened nearby. I can't really see any connection with the lyrics but that doesn't take away from anything. John Westhaver was right (as always), Jim has become a fabulous songwriter and is on even footing with other great Ottawa based songwriters - Lynn Miles and Ian Tamblyn. His personal observations on life are gripping and he is able to come across as if he is talking just to you. This is a superb disc!

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