North to Ontario 2007
As much as those of us in Western Canada hate to admit it, the Central Canadian bluegrass scene is a vibrant one. For the second time, Gene Gouthro and Tom McCreight of Ontario’s Silverbirch band have assembled a fine representation of that province’s various shades of bluegrass.
All but one of the songs are originals written by the Ontario-based musicians. Names familiar to those who have followed Ontario bluegrass are included. The Good Brothers contribute a brilliant little number entitled “Guide Me Back Home,” while the Backwoodsmen do not have to go far to wring emotion from Lorne Buck’s “An Angel Is Waiting.” Bill White and White Pine perform a nice Sheila Calthorpe song “Mom’s Still on the Homestead.”
The Emery Lester Set contributes a tune, as does the amalgam of Central Canadian Bluegrass Instrumentalist Award winners; dubbed the Central Canada All-Stars, the quintet perform a rollicking new instrumental, “The Night Nurse.”
Bluegrass youth is represented by the breathy vocals of Alicia Robicheau (“One and One Makes Three”) and Taylor Aran (“Francis Roy.”)
With memorable contributions from The C-Denny Band, Silverbirch, Pat Moore, Switchback Road, and almost twenty Ontario bluegrass performers, there is a lot to digest within North to Ontario 2007. An ambitious project that is beautifully presented, Gouthro and McCreight should receive well-deserved ‘Atta boys’ for assembling a completely enjoyable collection of bluegrass music.