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 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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