[2 December 2009]
There’s an unmistakable warmth on Spirit Guides, the debut full-length from Evening Hymns, a.k.a. southern Ontario folk hero Jonas Bonnetta. It’s a warmth that transforms the nine patient, building tracks from simple finger-picking heartbeats into lush, sweeping strokes of near-perfect orchestral pop. Bonnetta hasn’t released heaps of music recently, but it’s hard to fault him for taking his time. After all, the emotional buildup that permeates Spirit Guides creates a currency all its own. One that measures wealth in tears, stirring tales of regret and memories that seem to shake very core of Bonnetta’s grave and humbling voice. “Dead Deer” is the emotional breadwinner of the album, using healthy doses of temperate accordion and sweeping strings as a means to throw sticks on the fire. This isn’t campfire music, though, these are songs you’re meant to lock into on the coldest of nights and not let go.