Review : Fred Eaglesmith - 6 Volts
ExclaimVeteran Ontario troubadour Fred Eaglesmith has a following large and loyal enough to keep him constantly on the road, but he remains seriously undervalued by critics and the industry establishment ― no deserved Polaris or Juno nominations, for instance. Undeterred, he just keeps on putting out high quality records at a prolific rate. 6 Volts, his 19th, maintains the high standard. It's more stripped down than 2010's Cha Cha Cha and is, in fact, about as lo-fi as you can get. It was recorded on one mic, live-off-the-floor, on one track, to quarter-inch tape, with long-time comrade Scott Merritt assisting. The old school sonic approach perfectly matches the rugged authenticity of Eaglesmith's voice and sparse, poetic narratives. He gets reflective about playing the bars on "Stars," name checking old pal Willie P. ...full text
Country standard timeFrom the opening notes of Cemetery Road it is apparent that the classic Fred Eaglesmith sound is back; it seems high time that the Fred of lonely gravel roads, lonelier women, frustrated Saturday evenings, roadside artistry and junkyard Americana paid a return visit.
Within character studies, Eaglesmith's brilliance is revealed. Seldom heroic, Eaglesmith's protagonists are flawed, often lost. Eaglesmith doesn't attempt to provide answers; he is an observer, a writer of domestic history - through his acute eye, he captures the stories of the people we pass without notice....full text
Showbiz monkeysFred Eaglesmith is one of Canada’s most recognized folk icons. He’s a dedicated disciple of a way of life that refuses to die. His discography is decorated with songs about the down-and-out, death, trains and tiresome travel. This year, Fred tours extensively with the aptly-named Tin Can Caravan. He will undoubtedly receive a warm response from his following, also known as Fredheads. As a cult figure, Eaglesmith shows no signs of stopping. Though comfortable, he's decided to strip things down to bare essentials for his nineteenth album.
6 Volts was recorded live off-the-floor in Vittoria, Ontario. Each session was captured through one microphone onto reel-to-reel. Excluding some lo-fi revivalists, this analog method has been out of practice for decades. The results are muddy and occasionally unbalanced. However, this was a successful gamble. There is warmth in these songs....full text
BlurtEaglesmith's music is a true sensory experience because of his life experience, and that doesn't mean age. It means a Baby Boomer that was on such a quest to understand life that he spent part of his teenage years hopping freight trains through his native Canada. Although Eaglesmith presumably doesn't hop trains anymore, his lyrics clearly show he's a true student of life. The result is a catalog that speaks to listeners' hearts as it melds the sonic flavors of bluegrass, folk and rock.
While many music journalists compare him to Neil Young, I think John Mellencamp (post his "Jack and Diane" period) and John Hiatt are his musical soul mates.Eaglesmith recorded the album with a live band and one (seriously) microphone. Can't get much more down home than that. But as Eaglesmith's music proves, sometimes the back-to-basics approach is truly the most beautiful....full text
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