Light That Guides You Home, the second solo album from Blue Rodeo co-leader Jim Cuddy, doesn't deviate much from his band's roots rock, jangle pop sound. Which is good news for followers of the veteran Canadian band, or just admirers of their smart rock craftsmanship. The winning title track immediately alerts listeners that Cuddy's at the top of this game. The tune, an apologia for a hopeful reconciliation, is a chimey mid-tempo rocker that brings to mind the old Del Amitri hit, "Always the Last to Know." The record is rife with tales of damaged or broken relationships. The bittersweet "Maybe Sometimes" finds Cuddy lamenting "there's never the chance to say goodbye" amidst picturesque imagery of the sun rising over Lake Louise and fond memories of "quiet smiles and silent walking." On the spare "Pull Me Through," he admits, "There's messages I should return/And people I should call/I'm still tripping over echoes/Left lying in the hall." The reflective "She Gets Down" holds the telling insight: "Sometimes the world we want is different than the one we find." While literate lyrics, long a Cuddy hallmark, are in fine evidence here, this album isn't a starch dry effort in songcraft. One of the most memorable tracks is the rollicking "Married Again." A twangy duet featuring Kathleen Edwards, it contains the great couplet "Sixteen bottles and a wedding trunk/Oughta be a law about marrying drunk." Cuddy, who co-produced the CD with guitarist Colin Cripps, does a fine job of shifting moods and tempos throughout the disc. Strings and keyboards broaden Cuddy's guitar-based musical core. There's even a muted trumpet solo that punctuates "Pull Me Through." A good example of this variety comes with the stellar trio of tunes that conclude the album. The folk-poppy "Falling" flows into the quietly stirring "What She Said," which is followed by the rousing set-closer "Stagger In." While this disc might just seem like a busman's holiday from Blue Rodeo, Cuddy nonetheless has fashioned a thoroughly absorbing solo outing populated with memorable roots rock that resonates in the heart and the mind.
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AllMusic Review by Michael Berick