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Cornflower Blue

Run Down the Rails

(self-released; US: 13 Jan 2012; UK: 17 Jan 2012)

Solid set of Canadian Americana (does that makes sense?)

Ottawa’s Cornflower Blue are a country-folk band built around the vocals of Trevor May and Thesea McInerney, backed up by energetic musicians and fueled by an obvious passion for the music. Run Down The Rails‘s opening foot-stomper pushes McInerney’s urgent vocals to the fore, which is right where they belong; her tunes are by far the most passionate on the record. “Cold Lake” slows things a little, while “Car In the Parking Lot” brings them down even more, but in both cases, droning fiddles and McInerney’s strong voice keep the listener rapt.


Admittedly, May’s harmony vocals and the odd bit of disrtorted guitar solo help, too. When May takes center stage, the energy drops noticeably, so it’s a relief when things pick up again in the second half of the record. At just eight tunes, the album feels a bit thin, although the band makes the most of midtempo rockers like “Mr Air Traffic Controller” and “Try It Again”. A competent, if unspectacular, cover of The Waterboys’ “Fisherman’s Blues” winds up the proceedings—ironically, probably McInerney’s most tentative performance. Despite that, this is a solid set overall, with the promise of even greater possibilities just over the horizon.

Rating:

DAVID MAINE is a novelist and essayist. His books include The Preservationist (2004), Fallen (2005), The Book of Samson (2006), Monster, 1959 (2008) and An Age of Madness (2012). He has contributed to The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, Esquire.com and NPR.com, among other outlets. He is a lifelong music obsessive whose interests range from rock to folk to hip-hop to international to blues. He currently lives in western Massachusetts, where he works in human services. Catch up with his blog, The Party Never Stops, at davidmaine.blogspot.com, or become his buddy on Facebook (or Twitter or Google+ or whatever you prefer) to keep up with reviews and other developments.


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