Ian Tamblyn

Voice in the Wilderness

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Longtime folk singer Ian Tamblyn doesn't have much to prove to fans and newcomers alike, but this, his 14th album in a long and interesting career, is true to his roots. "The Birds," which features backing vocals and harmonies by Jennifer Noxon, offers a glimpse of laid-back, easy listening folk music. What might be a bit unique is how some instruments that are generally not associated with this genre are used, especially the trumpet in "Paul Kustra's Vision." But generally, it's the man and his guitar forging a very beautiful sonic path, exemplified no better than on "Ivory Bear." Only on songs such as the lengthy "Tiger Lily Road" or the bouncy country twang of "Whip Poor Will" does Tamblyn resemble a pop artist in the vein of Mark Knopfler or even, to a certain extent, Dire Straits. Each song describes a simple place in time or a story, but the economical way in which the singer writes results in songs much stronger than initially thought during "St. Kilda." There is also no topic taboo, as subjects range from squeegee kids to natural beauty of the outdoors. Stronger songs include the Celtic-influenced "The Horsehead Seal" and the title track, which has some Canadian references sure to bring a smile to most. The weakest track is "Chasing the Sun," a tune which is a bit aimless and seems like filler on the record. A very fine effort from an accomplished, if relatively unknown, musician.

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