DAVID FRANCEY: So Say We All Review by Posted by: Stuart Derdeyn, The Province
Scottish-born Francey has built a deserved reputation as one of Canada’s
best singer’songwriters and he’s in particularly fine form on his ninth
album. Blessed with one of those haggard-and-seductive voices that
really gets under your skin, he covers a lot of ground – literally – on
this 14 song collection. From stays at a Cheap Motel to rolling down the
Long Long Road with Blue Skies, Blue Yonder and American Blues all
popping up, he observes on the little things that uplift a downtrodden
spirit time and time again. It’s a case of less-is-more in most of the
songs as he sticks to vocals and guitar with occasional mandolin or
banjo added in to keep as intimate as possible. Familiar though it may
sound, it never falls into cliche which is hard to do in this genre.
(April 30, 2013)
Friday, September 27, 2013
By Kerry Doole
It can be argued that David Francey has had more impact than any old-school Canadian folk songsmith since the late great Stan Rogers. A late bloomer, he has now released ten albums that have deservedly won acclaim here (three Juno Awards) and beyond. So Say We All is one of his very best; it finds him digging deep, mining themes of depression, grief and unrequited love with genuine empathy. "These songs encompass what proved [to be] a very difficult year," he writes in the liner notes, though those tracks collected here range as far back as 1995. Some of the metaphors and locales (cheap motels, life as a road) are well worn, but it's a testimony to Francey's skill and always convincing vocal style that he can breathe new life into them. There is astute social commentary in "American Blues" ("and we run in the shadow of the power and the might") and "Bitterroot," but it's the songs forged from the soul that hit hardest. The vocal-only "Blue Yonder" (featuring Tannis Slimmon) and equally sparse closing title cut are amongst the highlights. As ever, the best players surround Francey, including string wizard Chris Coole, while the recording and mixing of Ken Friesen keep the sound clean, but never slick. This is another winner.