I have had the great pleasure of discovering some incredibly diverse Canadian albums over the last few months. From Sean Burns (pure country) and The Savilles (indie-rock), to Northern Quarter (contemporary folk-rock) and Hugh Christopher Brown (“a living, breathing experience”), the quality and consistency of the music remains at an all-time high, with no signs of slowing down anytime soon. I was very recently introduced to Jack Garton, a singer-songwriter from Galiano Island (just off the coast of Vancouver, BC), whose new solo album “Love You Over Time” has just been released.
Recorded in both Vancouver, BC, and Nanton, AB, with Canadian music legends Steven Drake and Steve Loree, respectively, Jack Garton’s latest album is a blend of light and dark humor, digging deeper into the theme of commitment that he explored on his debut full-length album “Move The Mess Around.” Offering a fiery brand of roots music that fuses folk, jazz, blues and rock ‘n’ roll into his signature sound, Jack Garton (accordion/trumpet/vocals) has teamed once more with “The Demon Squadron” for his latest release. Accompanied by Steven Drake (guitars/lap steel), Adam Farnsworth (piano/Hammond organ), Brendon Hartley (bass) and Amrit Basi (percussion), Jack Garton & The Demon Squadron have not only honed their craft out on the road, but chose to record all of the songs on “Love You Over Time” live off the floor.
As the first single to be released from the album, “Lit The Fire” is a track that digs deep into Jack Garton’s past. With some old-school guitar and up-tempo piano, this number was “heavily influenced by the rock ‘n’ roll that I grew up listening to,” says Jack. “I love that dog-eared roll-call kind of delivery in Chuck Berry’s songs, it’s a form of classic American poetry.” Yet there is much more than rock ‘n’ roll to be found on “Love You Over Time.” The opening track, “Get It Wrong,” leads off with some unexpected (but delightful) Cajun and gospel influences, complete with a toe-tapping rhythm and stellar piano work, along with Jack’s phenomenal trumpet solo.
Up next is the amusing “Sucks At Sports,” a melodic ditty in which Garton is happy to avoid the spotlight, and is quite content calling “the outfield my home and native land.” Demonstrating both Jack’s versatility and the bands ability to mix things up, go ahead and skip to “Looking To You,” where the vocals and piano lead the charge, until yielding to some gradual cries courtesy of the haunting lap steel. Still craving that lap steel? “Bittersweet” offers enough lap steel to give this one a significant old country flavor, although Jack briefly pulls out the trumpet once again midway through this one. Garton returns to his accordion on both “Over Time” and “Just A Window,” complete with a distinct European flair during the latter (and hints of The Carpenters meet Simon & Garfunkel, at least for me).
Having given “Love You Over Time” a few spins these last few days, the one constant stand-out track for me has to be “Magnolia.” With a contemporary sound unlike any other on the album, this number has the potential to be a crossover track that could appeal to a much more mainstream audience; thanks in part to a throwback sound that combines pop-rock with a healthy splash of eighties neo-romanticism. Sounds bizarre, right? But it works well and fits perfectly amongst this diverse track listing. This is an album that combines great writing and musicianship, and lest you forget how this was recorded, I encourage you to give this one a whirl for yourselves and draw your own conclusions. Highly recommended.