Album Review Saturdays 2023 Episode 7

On this Album Review Saturdays were going all Canadian!  Music appreciators, officiantos, and collectors certainly know the rich musical history of the country, and their affinity for nurturing beloved musicians, bands, and a live musical culture that continues to rival the rest of the world!  You don’t have to believe me, just look up some of your favorite artists, bands, and albums, and check the producers, too — you’ll be a believer.  And, in this Album Review Saturday, we’re showcasing two beloved musicians at different ends of the musical career spectrum, one in the more independent scene, spanning over a quarter century. and one in a category of Canadian legend — both with intriguing new releases.  Then we’re throwing one more Canadian act, because they’re an example of the range of cool that comes from the country that invented the coolest game on earth — hockey.

Grandson – I Love You, I’m Trying

Let’s start with the fun new album from Grandson!  Nice band name there, right!?  This band’s new record, “I Love You, I’m Trying,” is definitely expanding the lyrical angst that has fueled Mr. Benjamin’s song-writing style. The production loves his vocal hip/hop driven pace, and adds the devilish distortion, drum tracks and trickery in every nook and cranny.  There’s swagger without being self-indulgent.  There’s catchy, explosive beats, and there is those that drop down tempo to handle a bit more sincerity.  All of this flowing from real world experience made lyrics on every social scale.  Grandson’s latest offers a lot for the pop, hip-hop with that niche, heavy alternative, which seems to be a great idea to give more inclusiveness.  If you’re drawn to K. Flay, Bishop Briggs, Asher Roth and even some Missio — you will be into the audio adventure!

The band:  Jordan Benjamin
I Love You, I’m Trying Track Listing:
1. Two Along Their Way
2. Eulogy
3. Something To Hide
4. Drones
5. I Love You, I’m Trying
6. Half My Heart
7. When the Bomb Goes
8. Enough
9. Murderer
10. I Will Be Here When You’re Ready To Wake Up (ft. Wafia)
11. Heather
12 Stuck Here With Me


Emm Gryner – Business & Pleasure

What does one say about Emm Gryner?  She’s an artist that I have been wanting to put into “Unknown Sundays” (and I still will), as her catalog of albums and projects are worthy of such..  This is just going to be about her new album “Business & Pleasure” which is probably somewhere around her 20th album!?  If you’re from Canada, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of her (if you have not – you’re welcome), but if you’re outside the Canadian border, it’s not so likely. I don’t want to dive too deep into her 25+ years, but it’s safe to say — her time with David Bowie, and her musical producer father have been steady ships in her creative boundlessness.  This album dives a bit back into that late 70’s early 80’s vibe for my ears (hints of Steely Dan, her love of Hall & Oats, and others), but the clever song-writing, sub-referencing is something of what makes her so cool!  This is more of an adult contemporary record, but it’s fun, so very well produced, and latches on to some familiar sounds that make it warm and intriguing.  This is a more than one listen, especially for those of us that have followed her career for two decades plus.  There’s a rabbit hole here that I would love to take our panelists down one day, but for now, “Business and Pleasure” has soul, beauty, nostalgic guts, and the delicate voice of a Canadian songstress that’s not afraid of her steady business side and the pleasure she intends to bring willingly to those ready for the ear-filled ride.

The band:  Emm Gryner (vocals, keyboards, guitar, bass guitar)

Includes:  Shannon Forrest, drummer (Toto), keyboardist Pat Coil (Michael McDonald), bassist Larry Paxton (Alison Krauss), guitarist Tom Bukovac (Taylor Swift), guitarist, Pat Buchanan (Hall & Oates, Dolly Parton)

Business & Pleasure Track Listing:
1. Loose Wig
2. Jack
3. Valencia
4. Summertime
5. The Chance
6. Queen
7. The Second Coming
8. Strangers and Saints
9. Burn the Boats
10. Don’t Give in
11. Real Love

Gordon Downie & Bob Rock – Lustre Parfait

I’m literally in tears as I write this, and I apologize ahead of time for the writing in an attempt to showcase the record.  I don’t need to go into why, as I’m pretty sure anyone who says ‘they know music’ knows why.  I don’t know where in the timeline this album was started or how it was finalized (I decided to not look at anyone’s reviews or information on Google).  Mr. Gord Downie (one of the greatest front-men in Canadian rock history with The Tragically Hip, as well as all around fantastic human being) and Mr. Bob Rock (legendary producer with the resume of heavies like Metallica, Bon Jovi, The Tea Party, The Tragically Hip, Our Lady Peace, Motley Crue, The Cult and The Offspring to name just a few) come together to deliver this beautiful co-creative sentimental, straight ahead record that has the stamps of both men’s talents on it.  It is a glorious reminder of the power of the singer-songwriter, the impact lyric and melody have to one another, and the moment(s) that we come to love, cherish, and too often compartmentalize.  This is, start to finish, a put it on loud record, but there’s that one song that lands the hardest, the best…that just takes me back to front row at Ontario Place in 1992, or at University at Buffalo, where ‘there was only once chance to save the world’, or Markham Fairgrounds where he ‘could have been Kevin Costner or Clint Eastwood’…truly………The Moment…Is…A…Wild…Place.  Indeed it is, a moment I, and most of my friends + a country will never, ever forget.

The band:  Gordon Downie (vocals) and Bob Rock (guitar, production)

Supporting musicians on Lustre Parfait include Dexter HollandNoodlesAbe Laboriel Jr.Tom Keenlyside, Steve Madaio, Camille Henderson and Saffron Henderson

Lustre Parfait Track Listing:
1.  Greyboy Says
2.  The Raven And The Red-Tailed Hawk
3.  Lustre Parfait
4.  The Moment Is A Wild Place
5.  Something More
6.  Camaro
7.  The North Shore
8.  Is There Nowhere
9.  To Catch The Truth
10.  Let Me Howl
11.  HellBreaksLoose
12.  The Safest Day Of The Year
13.  In The Field
14.  There Goes The Sun
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