Far Cry by Gavin Simms sent the most pleasant and melodic echoes through my ears. A gentle raspy voice belying age, shades of Tom Waits at his softest, tempered with hints of John Prine and Jerry Jeff Walker at his smokiest, enveloped me. The song See it Coming formed bookends to a cluster of original songs that held my attention from beginning to end. In between I empathized with lost love, unrequited love, love of place, love of space and love of love. I travelled through time with the singer/songwriter; time lived, time projected and time lost. I closed my eyes and felt the melodies of conventional instruments juxtaposed with unconventional foreign, yet familiar sounds. Words washed over me as song after song revealed layered dimensions of the writer perhaps as unintentional as intentional for where lies the distinction between what one intends words to say and what words say in and of themselves.
It was refreshing to revel in the honesty of an unpretentious artistic expression of sound packaged in a well-designed and well-constructed conceptual framework. Individual songs stand tall yet fall in line as the album emerges. Yes, there were favourites, yet none failed to keep my attention focused on the lyric, the instrumentation, the arrangements and the relationship between writer, arranger and singer.
This album is a voyeuristic glimpse inside the heart and passion of multidimensional love; a love of being and purpose, a love of relationships and celebration, a love of place and comfort while at the same time exploring loss, repentance, regret and brushes with melancholy.
Not Old Yet is perhaps the most revealing track, the briefest, yet provocatively challenging to the listener in its simple lyric construction and challenging message.
Unknown asks us to trust the truth of the writer; to journey spatially to the point where highway 360 takes a traveller away from the rest of North America to a nirvana, a mecca, a place which defines itself as home despite emotion, relationships and complex human dynamics, to a place where a rock generationally shared and named brings comfort; where there are beginnings, dreams and memories all balled into one.
Well done Gavin Simms from Hermitage!