From the desk of Calvin Daniels.com
This week I'm going to do something a little different, looking at four CDs which are up for awards at the Western Canada Music Awards which will be presented later this month in Moose Jaw.
I'm starting with John Wort Hannam's wonderful recording Two Bit Suit, a CD up for Best Roots Solo Album.
This is one of those albums which could just as easily have been among the finalists for country as well, since several cuts are very much bluegrass, including the title cut. Of course when you start looking at country, roots, bluegrass and folk you often end up splitting hairs to categorize where a given CD fits best.
Regardless of what label the awards committee chose to put on Two Bit Suit, it's a fine album. This is a CD rich in the lyrics Wort Hannam has created. There are love songs like Sweet Sweet Rose, that could easily find an audience on country radio given a chance.
Damn It Gwenivere is pure old-style country, and dang nab it don't it sound fine. It's nice to hear someone who remembers how to write purist country.
Other cuts, such as National Hotel are more upbeat, but still enjoyably acoustically driven.
The ballad Infantryman resonates with raw emotion, and may be the most heartfelt cut on this CD.
Vocally, Wort Hannam has a common voice, that is to say one where you get a feeling he'd be most at home sitting among a group of friends, just him and his acoustic guitar, sharing his wonderful music as a gift to those there.
I will have to say anyone who seeks out this CD will be acquiring a definite gift. This is one that impresses from the opening chord through all 11 songs. I hope he wins. It sure should. 9-out-of-10