Published Oct 24, 2018Peterborough-born, Hamilton-based singer/songwriter Dave McEathron is primarily known as the driving force behind the Warped 45s, a Toronto roots-rock combo that deserved a better fate for the two superb albums they released almost a decade ago.
He returns to the fray with a second solo album that reaffirms he is a major talent. The release is actually two CDs, the folk-rock based Abandoned Companions and an EP titled The Abandoned Companions Companion Piece that is more roots-rock in sound. Two tracks, "Hell to the Heavens" and "The Tears that I Gave Her," are featured on both, and they're strong enough to justify a reprise.
McEathron possesses a somewhat yearning voice that always sounds authentic to its core, and his skilled wordsmithery also catches the ear. On "Luck," a co-write with folk great David Francey, we're treated to lines like "sometimes luck smiles at you with teeth like missing boards on wind-slant barns," while on "I Will," McEathron muses "why is patience always wasted on the complacent? Why not on the desperate, the lovesick and the crazy?"
He fleshes out his songs by playing guitar, mandolin and banjo, assisted by the likes of Bryan Butler, Brian Pickett, Chris Coole, Andrew Penner (Harrow Fair) and Siydock. Pickett contributes clean production on all but two tracks, skilfully helmed by Hill Kourkoutis (Sate, July Talk). Of note is the packaging, featuring stitched leather and fabric covers personally crafted by McEathron with the attention to detail displayed in his compositions. It takes a few spins for the subtle joys of these songs to really sink in, but that is time well spent. (Independent)