Ian Tamblyn may well be the best Canadian singer/songwriter you've never heard. Over a career that spans thirty years and twenty-five records for his independent North Track label, Tamblyn has proven himself to be more difficult to pigeon-hole than some might like. But from pure folk records including '81s remarkable When Will I See You Again and '95's more experimentally self-examining The Middle Distance , to instrumental recordings like '91's Magnetic North , which seamlessly blends natural sounds including whales, birds and glaciers breaking, to more rock-influenced efforts like '83's Dance Me Outside , Tamblyn has asserted a completely individual style that is informed by personal experience and, consequently, has an intimacy that is never less than compelling.
Angel's Share is Tamblyn's latest release and, following '02's mainly instrumental ode to the hammered dulcimer, Like the Way You're Tinkin , returns him to the singer/songwriter vein. Unquestionably one of Tamblyn's best efforts, this is a fine introduction to an artist who, with a sound that is somehow distinctly Canadian for all its diverse influences, has cultivated a following but deserves a far broader audience.
An intrepid traveler who has voyaged from the northern coast of Scotland and the west coast of Canada to the Arctic Circle, Tamblyn's writing reflects his breadth of experience. From the Scotland of the title track to the Antarctic of "Arc of Dreams and Prayers," from the Northern Canadian landscape of Nunavut on "Fata Morgana" to his home in Chelsea, Quebec on "Frost is on the Pumpkin," Tamblyn's music manages to evoke images of places near and far, all the while telling stories that touch the soul and heart. Some of Tamblyn's most engaging live performances appear when he combines his musical stories with a slide show of photographs from his many travels, but you don't need the visuals to be drawn into the imagery of his songs.
And while Angel's Share is an unapologetic folk album, there are more than a few hints of his broader stylistic tastes. "Arviat Drum Song," with its insistent pulse and Fred Guignon's richly textural electric guitar work, evokes a strong yet subtle rock sensibility, as does "Blue Canoe." "Boxes," with James Stephens' lyrical fiddle, is country-tinged but, with Alvaro Minaya's hand percussion, has a more unique world flavour.
Through it all Tamblyn's relaxed singing, with its whisper-like quality, and recognizable finger-style acoustic guitar playing dominate the fifteen-song programme. And while Tamblyn's songs tend to reflect his experiences as a traveller and investigator of culture, songs like "Boxes," with its final words, "You say one word and I will shatter/Keep your foot out of your mouth/Help me with this last box/Get the doorget me out," are as personal as they come. Angel's Share , like the many records that precede it, deserves to put Tamblyn, an artist with a singular voice and vision, on the international map.
Track Listing: Wind Through the Tuckamore; Angel's Share; Brush and Paddle; Arc of Dreams and Prayers; Arviat Drum Song; Blue Canoe; Black Spruce; Ballad of Mark Jarareuse; Fata Morgana; Sunlight Girl; Frost is on the Pumpkin; Boxes; Built for Beauty; Paradise Bay; Three Birds.
Personnel: Ian Tamblyn: acoustic guitars, keyboards, percussion, vocals, Ken Kanwhisher: double-bass, electric bass, Fred Guignon: electric guitar, National steel guitar, lap steel, acoustic guitar, Alvaro Minaya: cajon, congas, djembe, snare, percussion, Phil Shaw Bova Jr.: drums, Rebecca Campbell: background vocals, Alise Marlane: background vocals (13, 15), Aju Peters: background vocals (15), Rodney Brown: background vocals (1, 6, 14); James Stephens: fiddle, Nathan Curry: mandolin, Brian Doubledan: guitar tech, Ottawa Folklore Centre.
I love jazz because I was born and raised here in America, and it is one of the most significant cultural contributions we have given to the world. It is an incredibly sophisticated artform that continues to challenge boundaries while delighting and engaging listeners of all different ages and backgrounds
I love jazz because I was born and raised here in America, and it is one of the most significant cultural contributions we have given to the world. It is an incredibly sophisticated artform that continues to challenge boundaries while delighting and engaging listeners of all different ages and backgrounds. I love how jazz can involve musicians who may have never met each other can coming together and making incredible music by referring to the Great American Songbook and musicians who have been playing together for years, who have a deep connection and who explore and create original music that is at the cutting edge of musical innovation in every sense. Performing jazz music requires a virtuosity and technique that only strict discipline can teach as well as a spontaneity and playfulness that reflects the simple folk roots of the music.
I was first exposed to jazz as a student in college. Only knowing I wanted to play guitar, I enrolled in an applied music program that focused on Jazz rhythm section playing. The subsequent journey that I have been on since the time that I enrolled in that class has helped me grow not only as a musician but more so as a person.