CD’s Noted and Reviewed by Stanley Fefferman

Top of the pile is singer/songwriter George Meanwell’s second solo album entitled “Late”. There is a lot of continuity with his first album “Another Street”, which I reviewed for The Live Music Report: the songs are intelligent, thank goodness for that, in the folksy-but-cool manner of Mose Allison, Dylan, Lyle Lovett and Leonard Cohen. The songs are interesting, the musicians, The Loss Leaders and guests are impeccable, the arrangements are full of variety intended to wake you up rather than lull you to sleep in a particular sound groove. I like it very much.

These are the tests “Late” has passed: I listened to it in bits, driving around Toronto, and I wasn’t quite convinced until I listened again, all the way through, on a drive to Ottawa, and I was sold. It is a terrific album, one song better than the next. The opening tune-“What have you done with my heart” is so good, it ought to be a big hit.

I played it for my son-in-law, who likes Blue Rodeo and he liked it. I played it for my 16 year old grandson who likes Kanye West and Bob Marley, and he liked it. I like to let this tune haunt my head, which it does, quite a bit. And somehow, rythmns or bits of melody of the other Meanwell tunes are called to join the party in my head.

Lines and titles of these songs mostly about tender but endangered love, might give you a sense of the elegance of Meanwell’s mind. “Let’s do lunch in my car,” rhymes with the Buckaroo Bonzai mantra “Wherever you go, there you are.” From the title song, there is: “Memory and appetite tend to inflate/This evening let’s eat a little bit late.” And these lines from the hit candidate: “If I’m sad I won’t know till I cry/What have you done with my heart.”

Behind it all is Meanwell’s flexible, gentle, capable voice giving music to words that feel sincere. This honest work is shared by Meanwell’s band, The Loss Leaders, which includes Rick Whitelaw, Ray Parker, Chad Irschick and Dave MacDougall.

George Meanwell’s albums are available at http://www.midnightislandmusic.ca/

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