Album: Bring The Light
Label: Self Released
When a musician has achieved the accolade of ‘Canadian Folk Music Award for Contemporary Singer’, also ‘Best Male artist of the Year’, and ‘Nova Scotia Musician of the Year’, it would be an easy thing for any reviewer to write and simply say “Buy the album!” But a review of the fifth and latest album by Ian Sherwood will reveal why he deserves the accolades.
Starting his musical career as a saxophone player in Toronto, Ian wanted to have an outlet for his poetic storytelling persona and soon his skills as a lyricist and performer got him a nomination for the 2011 ECMA award for the Male Solo Artist Recording of the Year, and within the first few bars ‘Little Birds’, the first track on Bring the Light, the listener will appreciate why.
With ‘Little Birds’, almost instantly the storytelling grabs attention, with the backing music giving the song a powerful and evocative presence. It’s certainly an example of one of those songs that has the sort of hook that will tempt a fan of good acoustic lyrical music to buy an entire album based on that track alone. The third track ‘Firefly’ underscores this opening with just acoustic guitar, vocals and strong lyrical content, then joined by a powerful drumming that carries the song right through to the finale. It really is quite stirring stuff.
‘Alberta’, the fifth track has a very different feel and highlights that Ian is a master across a broad spectrum of acoustic genres. This leads into ‘We’re only Human’ which is a real beauty, and as the ninth song begins with gentle fingerstyle guitar, expectation of strong storytelling is immediately assured with the lyric “You dance like the girls in the city, on the wrong side of town. There’s a past that you’re not revealing, on the wrong side of town….”
Ian has a truly phenomenal song writing skill, an ability to almost instantly grab the listener’s attention and pull them into the song, with the music acting almost as the wrapper around each variety of chocolate from a box, yet that music is also of the very highest standard. The final song ‘Come Back to Me’ is a quiet and introspective track that showcases Ian’s vocal skills, mainly accompanied by simple but effective acoustic guitar. This track shows how, as a live performer, Ian would keep an audience entranced as he tells a story through song.
A masterclass in acoustic song writing and musicianship, Bring the Light is a worthy addition to any music collection.