Greg MacPherson

Night Flares

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The Canadian indie G7 Welcoming Committee leans primarily towards political D.I.Y. punk and hardcore (the label name is a sarcastic reference to the riots that greeted the G7 meetings in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 2002), which makes their signing of Winnipeg-based roots-rocker Greg MacPherson an admirable refusal to bow to punk orthodoxy. Much closer to Bruce Cockburn or even Gordon Lightfoot than to any of his labelmates, MacPherson is an old-school folk-rocker, and Night Flares is uncomplicated stuff: fans of John Hiatt, Graham Parker's post-Rumour albums, and even Bruce Springsteen will recognize a familiar musical and lyrical style. MacPherson's vocal style is not what anyone would call pretty, being basically a raspy bark that doesn't change much between mid-tempo rockers like "Hotel Motel" and slower, more intimate material like the spookily atmospheric "California," and his songwriting is similarly meat-and-potatoes, skirting around political themes alongside more traditional personal topics, with some catchy tunes and occasional memorable lines. But the fact remains: the essential musical difference between Greg MacPherson and the likes of Red Rider and Bryan Adams really isn't that big.

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