Find A New Favorite: Gina Horswood, “Bare Bones”

Gina Horswood - Bare Bones

At its heart, “Bare Bones,” Australian country blues artist Gina Horswood’s fourth album, is a courageous self-portrait of an artist taking stock of herself in a turbulent, uncertain world.  This is not a mere recounting of misgivings, misdeeds, or missteps, but rather the daring chronicle of an artist charting her own path toward redemption.  Bravely facing the demons that haunt her dreams and avail her footsteps, Horswood finds a way to reflect universal themes in her own personal struggles, offering hope and resolve in the full knowledge that the outcomes are far from guaranteed.  It is in the humility and humanity of these sparse, delicate songs that we are given both solace and renewal.

Following the release of her promising debut solo album, “Crazy Brilliant Mess,” in 2009, Gina travelled from her Australian home to Nashville, TN to record her 2013 EP, “The Nashville Sessions,” with renowned songwriter, Jim Reilley (The New Dylans), before landing employment in Huntsville, ON where she found a nurturing and caring family to support her endeavors as a songwriter and to establish Canadian citizenry.  Gina worked tirelessly with cover bands and alt-country bands in Southern Ontario and quickly established herself as a highly regarded background vocalist while maintaining a rigorous performing schedule as solo artist.  Recognized for her commanding stage presence, pure singing abilities, and poignant song writing, Gina came to the attention of legendary producer Andre Wahl (Luke Doucet, Shania Twain), leading to a 2016 collaboration for her third full length album, “Porcelain.”

Horswood toured relentlessly throughout Canada and Australia, in support of the album release, but to her dismay, the album, which contained many of her most cherished live songs, did not secure the larger audience she had hoped for. Meticulously crafted by Wahl, “Porcelain” is an overlooked classic from a songwriter clearly ready for a national breakthrough.  At the conclusion of that tour, Gina, exhausted both emotionally and financially, decided to break from the road and piece together her life back in her small town Ontario home.  The strain of constant work and the pressures of touring left its mark, and Horswood, as so many before her, found herself battling fatigue, depression and alcohol dependence.  In the four years following the release of “Porcelain,” Gina Horswood chose to address and combat her own personal challenges head on.  Along the way, she wrote what she lived through and what she came to realize.

Gina Horswood

In late 2019, at Andre Wahl’s insistence and invitation, Gina joined him in studio to share some of the material that she had been developing, in part, as catharsis for her own circumstance and in response to her audiences’ hope for new material.  The outcome of those sessions proved startling and surprising to both, finding that the pieces formed a remarkable statement of time and place.  In the tradition of some of the greatest artistic achievements in songwriting history, Horswood and Wahl chose to release the results to world.  In its own right, this latest album, “Bare Bones,” stands next to classic pared-down songwriting and albums, such as “Blue” (Joni Mitchell) and “Nebraska” (Bruce Springsteen), yet offers something clearly and uniquely of its own, and Gina’s dauntless creative powers.

“Bare Bones” is comprised of ten songs, presented in a simple yet deeply intimate approach – a song, a guitar, and a clear unaccompanied voice that will give you the shivers, soaring fearlessly into its bold themes – emotionally exposed, vulnerable, determined and purposeful, mindful of the risks and pitfalls.  From its opening song, “Common Ground,” to the closing revelations in “Three Sides,” the songstress focuses uncompromisingly at the subject matter of heartbreak, despair and finally, at reconciliation with one’s true destiny.  If we are divided, it is because we do not see; if we are addicted, it is because we do not forgive; if we are depressed, it is because we do not trust; if we are lost, it is because we do not love.  These milestones along the road are ours to hold and keep, not to be overlooked, but treasured.  

Horswood reminds us over and over again what is truly necessary and important: “When I’m stripped back to nothing but a body trembling / Lost in the chaos of kaleidoscopes / That is not what I am made of, it’s important that you know the monochrome / The bare bones” (Bare Bones).  Let love rain on these streets / Let the fear fueled fire disappear / We’re all but gone except for smoke and soul / Lay your weapons down, let’s go home” (Lets Go Home).

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Douglas McLean fell in love with music at a very early age and has worked as a musician and songwriter since his early teens. He has a deep love for the written word and has spent his life in pursuit of language as a means to convey what Van Morrison once called “the inarticulate speech of the heart”. He lives deep in the Almaguin Highlands with his wife and their dog. Douglas is active in local radio, recording, producing and writing, in and around Huntsville, Ontario.

His website is:

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