Melwood Cutlery

If It Rains

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Melwood Cutlery's If It Rains was recorded in 2000, but if you didn't know better, you might assume that it was recorded in the 1960s or 1970s. That's because the Canadian artist has been heavily influenced by the male singer/songwriters of that era. As a songwriter, Cutlery owes a lot to Elton John and the post-Beatles solo projects of John Lennon. But not all of his influences are British -- Cutlery's writing has also been influenced by Bob Dylan and the Byrds. In fact, his vocal style is somewhere between Dylan and the Byrds' Roger McGuinn. But Cutlery is an expressive vocalist in his own right, and while he isn't the most innovative or groundbreaking artist in the world, he is great at what he does. Cutlery's writing is consistently strong on this pop-rock/folk-pop CD, which he released on his own Dish Stack label. When you're listening to gems like "Great Northern Diver" and "Two Lane Highway," you find yourself wondering why, in 2000, he wasn't recording for a major label or at least a well-known indie. The only time Cutlery disappoints us in any way is on "Lay Down My Love," a charming and romantic number that employs fellow Canadian Alannah Myles. A jewel of a singer, Myles provides background harmonies -- and the track would have been even stronger if she sang lead and the Canadians had performed a real male/female duet. It's still a great song; one just wishes that Myles had played a prominent role instead of merely a supporting one. But that's only a minor quibble; If It Rains is generally excellent, and it indicates that someone with Cutlery's skills should be a lot better known.

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