Winnipeg, Manitoba's Big Dave McLean returns with a full platter of tunes courtesy of Vancouver's Black Hen Music label and talented veteran producer, Steve Dawson. Faded But Not Gone offers 12 songs, mostly original but with a few well-chosen covers thrown in for good measure that showcase why McLean is such a celebrated stalwart among our northern cousins.
Standouts on the disc incluce the amusingly autobiographical "I Best Choose To Pick The Blues" which details why this Canadian prairie boy would rather "sit in a smoke filled room and pick the blues from nine to two" than preach (like his father) or go into business (like his brothers). That infectious joy with his music and love of what he does runs throughout the album. A more reverent song, "Shades of Grace" echoes McLean's childhood in the Presbyterian church and features the soulful backing vocals of Ann and Regina McCrary. The dementedly irreverent Tom Waits song "Mr. Siegal" is a welcome addition to the mix, and in addition to McLean's gritty vocals, features Steve Dawson's playful banjo work. The disc closes on a plaintive note with McLean and his National steel guitar sweetly dueting on an almost seven-minute version of Skip James' "Devil Got My Woman."
McLean's more than capable backing band should not go unnoticed: in addition to Steve Dawson on various instruments, the disc also features John Dymond on bass, Gary Craig on drums, Colin James on mandolin, Colin Linden on slide guitar, and Kevin McKendree on piano and organ.
"Faded But Not Gone" was recorded at the Henhouse Studio in Nashville, Tennessee, and belongs in any contemporary blues fan's collection, Canadian or otherwise.