Canada is home to many terrific musicians and among them is one of my new favorites, Eric Westbury. I hate to pin him down as roots rock but it is the closest category to give a first impression. Along with some of the best singer songwriters, Eric's compositions yield vivid mental images of their focus as I listen. Surrounded by excellent musicians, the CD is full of auditory treasures. The CD was produced, mixed and mastered by Gurf Morlix who also performed on it playing electric guitar, bass and other stringed instruments.
The CD opens with the title track, "Burnt Tongues & Blue Truths". The Hammond B3 played by Sean Grieve interplays with bass and drums [Pat Steward] and Eric's acoustic guitar. His voice has a wizened gravel along with a breathy depth. The struggle described in the song is lightened by his voice and the flowing music. An octofone [mandolin-like instrument tuned an octave lower akin to a tenor guitar] adds a softer banjo sound giving the tune a folk overtone. Gurf's electric guitar solo echoes Eric's melody in the solo break.
"Hooves And Horns" is a sinister sounding minor keyed tune with a slightly dirge-like but engaging pace. It remarks on the evil that lurks in our world from a view overlooking the devastated scene caused by the devil. Opening with distorted feedback guitar, it quickly changes into an acoustic/electric guitar backdrop. Accents by Pat on drums add impact to the description of the tortured souls. Eric weaves the mournful tune with perfection between the instrumental bookends. Gurf's solo is tailored to the feel of the song and adds the poignant electric guitar edge.
"Tanks" lures you in with finger picked guitar as you descend to a story about a lurking figure who covers their eyes when the tanks come through. Eric's breathy voice tells the story from a first party position on top of fierce slide electric guitar. The desperation in the lyric is punctuated by the drums and solo guitar work. It ends with an eerie guitar feedback roar as the drums and acoustic guitar fall away.
The story Eric tells in "Walking Tracks" reveals a fellow who is a peer of the permanent seats in a bar who remarks on the life sores of the other occupants. He hopes not to leave a similar story but as the song progresses, you realize he is going to do just that. A perfect sewing of acoustic guitar, percussion and electric guitar flows throughout to the end where the fade to just acoustic guitar finalizes the likely remnant of this fellow's life.
"Next Showing Of The Big Picture" has Eric singing lead and backing vocals. The conundrums of life are examined in the lyrics. Near or far the answer of the described caricature is he doesn't know. But what he does know is he will be in the front row for the next showing when he goes. A beautiful guitar solo beak features Gurf bending just the right notes together.
Eric's voice is perfect for the song, "Churchill's Black Dog". Simple finger picked gut string guitar with augmentation by steel guitar sets the stage for the story. As the story develops we see we all have had a visit or two by this dog.
"Burnt Tongues & Blue Truths" grows on me with every listen. I urge you to seek out this recording for your own collection. You can read about Eric and sample some tracks by visiting www.westburyroad.com. The musicianship and performance found on Eric's CD will find you listening over and over again. Eric Westbury is highly recommended listening.
~ steve ekblad audiogrid.com