Romi Mayes- Achin in Yer Bones   Leave a comment


Romi Mayes

Achin In Yer Bones

Self-released

Manitoba’s Romi Mayes calls ’em as she feels them. Just don’t expect any hollow Dr. Phil homilies from her.

Perhaps the closest Canada has to Lucinda Williams, although Eliza Gilkison also serves as a fair point of reference, Mayes’s latest is a dark, foreboding album of stark descriptions exposing harrowing emotions.

“The West Coast sun is warm but those folks don’t like to smile” she sings on the title track opening the ten-song disc, and that is about as bright as the album gets.

When Mayes sings of “Tire marks and faded tail lights” one is taken with the forlorn imagery, but it is only later in the song that the frustration and exhaustion of the protagonist is truly revealed: “That old ring that you gave me is sittin’ by the door, it’s the same old one that I’ve given back before, I can’t make you muster up the might-” She has finally had enough, and she’s peeling out of the drive!

Gurf Morlix’s sensible and sensitive production keeps the focus on Mayes’ stronger than ever voice, augmenting the songs with a balance of forceful percussion and tasteful guitars.

Mayes drifts into Sue Foley territory on the bluesy If the Lord Don’t Love You, and recalls John Hiatt on the intense Slow Down. With I Won’t Cry, Mayes releases her inner Loveless and further exposes her vocal agility.

Hard Road is a love song with a difference, one that filters its warmth through absence and isolation. The song, along with a Morlix duet (Mercy On Me), together demonstrate how impactful Canadiana roots music can be.

In the albums since most of us first heard of Mayes- back a few years when she was singing of Styx and BTO- she has matured and blossomed under the lessons of the road and the tutelage of Morlix. Back then, it almost seemed that she was having a laugh at the expense of her audience.

No longer. The sincerity of her thoughts and expression now comes through on each and every song, and she is ready to be mentioned in the same breath as Eaglesmith and the rest.

 Achin In Yer Bones needs to be a contender when the Polaris Music Prize and Juno Award nominees are considered.

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