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Listening to: Dave Gunning

A few weeks ago, on a Saturday morning, I woke up to CBC Radio 1. That’s what my clock radio is set to play every morning at 6. Even though the hosts’ accents are a bit pompous and there’s a daily quota for news items about Stephen Harper’s foreign policy, I prefer these bits of highbrow programming to the canned, predictable and formulaic play lists of corporate music stations.

That morning, they were playing new Canadian music. Still half asleep, I heard a strikingly good song called “These Roads” by Dave Gunning, a singer/songwriter from Nova Scotia. I grabbed my Blackberry and keyed in ‘Dave Gunning’ so as to not miss it :)

A few days later, I went to Dave’s website at http://www.davegunning.com and ordered his latest CD, “House for Sale,” which arrived within the week (I only figured out later that it’s all available at my friendly local HMV, thinking – obviously – that I was onto something cutting-edge and indie :). It’s an exceptionally well-produced, great-sounding album. If I were pressed to peg the style, I’d say it’s somewhere between Blue Rodeo and Great Big Sea with a little Hank Williams Jr. thrown in as seasoning. It’s got a certain East Coast earnestness to it, but also a wonderful melodic clarity and precise, crisp songwriting. The arrangements are well-judged and played.

This doesn’t happen to me often, but this CD has been playing in my car practically nonstop for a few days now. I may just have been in the mood for something with a little twang (I have times in my life where no particular genre in music satisfies me and I meander around aimlessly but frustratedly until something random really resonates and I really get into it). But I’d certainly recommend Dave Gunning warmly to anyone interested in that Canadian folk-country-rock nexus or good singer/songwriters. I think it’s good enough to transcend any genre-skepticism you may have associated with ‘country’ or ‘folk.’
In the meantime, I’ve also bought Dave’s previous album, “Two-Bit World,” and it’s just as good. Very impressed. (Yes, I know the album covers are a little cheesy :)

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