Gordie Tentrees North Country Heart www.tentrees.ca
Writing about his Yukon surroundings- the natural land as well as the people- has taken Gordie Tentrees to the next level.
Firmly entrenched in the same singer-songwriter mode as Corb Lund- especially on the talking blues of “Sideman Blues” and “Hill Country News”- Tentrees’s forthcoming album North Country Heart is his strongest yet. And that is a fairly high bar as his previous efforts Mercy or Sin and Bottleneck to Wire were fairly marvelous.
Recorded in Whitehorse with Bob Hamilton, start to finish North Country Heart is likely the finest collection of songs that Tentrees has recorded. While individual lyrical pieces capture the attention of listeners (“Blessed and bestowed bitten from the start, there’s nothing out there like a North Country heart” and “This is not another tune for you, wrote enough of them to see me through” from “Last Word”), the melodies capture the moods as accurately as his words.
On “Lone Sparrow,” the melody holds the lyrics close. The instrumentation- including lonesome pedal steel- punctuates the melancholy. The sagely worded “Black Seeds” is another standout track, as is the album’s lead number “Gypsy Wind.”
Tentrees has created a cohesive collection of images and sounds that hits emotional marks without resorting to manipulation. Heard without advance warning, one could be convinced that this is the new Corb Lund or Hayes Carll album and not be a bit disappointed. Tentrees has learned from the best: Fred Eaglesmith, John Wort Hannam, Ray Wylie Hubbard.
North Country Heart is evidence that he hasn’t just learned the tricks of the trade: Tentrees has become a stellar songwriter and roots vocalist.