Friday, September 27, 2013
David Francey So Say We All Review in Exclaim Magazine
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.