David Francey

The Waking Hour

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David Francey is one of Canada's best-kept secrets, but he's one who deserves to be globally recognized on a level similar to Joni Mitchell or Neil Young. His songs are deceptively simple, tinged by his accent, a Scots-Canuck mix, the images direct, as on "Ashtabula," but put together they create a complex, multidimensional picture -- not unlike a younger version of Gordon Lightfoot, in his own way. Accompanied here by friends Kieran Kane, Kevin Welch, and Fats Kaplin, there's nothing fancy about this acoustic disc, but it remains affecting. Francey looks at the world with a poet's eye, as on the religious parable "Morning Train." This was recorded in Nashville, and he looks at America with affection, but also an outsider's skepticism, such as on "Fourth of July," a meditation on the run up to the 2003 Iraq War. He can turn bluesy (with a touch of bluegrass in the harmony vocal) on "Wanna Be Loved" and keep a driving rhythm on "Sunday Morning." Every piece here is a loving little gem. Francey makes them seem effortless, which is the mark of a true craftsman. Brilliance.

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