Greg Keelor

Aphrodite Rose

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After the fascinatingly eclectic directions Greg Keelor had been taking on Blue Rodeo's last album (Are You Ready) -- which saw him visiting Celtic mythology ("Phaedra's Meadow") and alt-prog rock ("Tired of Pretending") -- and the dirge-like catharsis of Seven Songs for Jim, it was bound to be exciting to see what his next solo record would hold. Who would have expected a full-blown pop record? From the opening notes of "No Man's Land" to the singsongy choruses of "Colour and Rhyme," Keelor seems to have transformed himself into a troubadour who can't resist a beautiful hook or harmony. Even Sarah McLachlan is back (from Five Days in July fame) to provide background vocals for the melancholic "Miss You" and the abbreviated title track. Travis Good shows up on a few numbers, too, but this is clearly Keelor's album. And it's a feel-good uplifter from start to finish. Not that Keelor has abandoned his experimental nature (the odd interlude of "Dragonfly" and the jangly blues/rockabilly chorus of "Prisoner" remind one that this is indeed the work of Greg Keelor), but this is the happiest Keelor has sounded in many years. And certainly the most fun he seems to have had making a record. The album's credo seems to be found in the opening track's joyful refrain, "And we'll all go together/Hand in hand/Yes we'll all go together/Through the no man's land." With Keelor leading the way on Aphrodite Rose, it's a true joy to join him.

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