Shuyler Jansen’s follow-up to his incredible 2004 electro-folk release Hobotron is vintage Jansen, who also happens to be co-singer/songwriter of indie roots band Old Reliable. Hobotron took chances, which is not to say his latest release, Today’s Remains, a straight-up country-folk offering, doesn’t. It’s just more folksy.
The dusty electronics of his previous release are replaced by sweet and sour tracks more akin to country than electronica. But my no means simplistic or mundane. His lonesome vocals on various tracks, though very country in feel are unique to Jansen. He certainly doesn’t shy away from sounding prairies – you can hear bales of hay, dirty tractors, and hardworking farmers in his voice. The title track is so tender, sad, and beautiful if you aren’t ready for it it’ll make you cry.
Joined by talented musicians, it’s Jansen’s voice works with female singers Karly Warkentin and Alice Dawson that really shine. The use of strings, vocals, guitars, pedal steel, funky drumbeats and equally funky bass lines this latest collection of tunes will easily mix with vintage Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard as well contemporaries Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, and many more.
Calling Saskatoon home these days, the songs were recorded in Vancouver, giving the release that bigger-city sense that Saskatoon’s 20,000 odd population just couldn’t offer. Despite heading over the Rockies into Van, the small town essence and tales of infidelity, addiction, death and broken trust of Today’s Remains will keep the music rooted in tradition while allowing a thin coat of bigger city shine.
- Antoine Tedesco