Lynne Hanson has been a favourite here at FolkNRoots Radio for quite a while now, so when I heard that she had a new record coming down the pipe, excited anticipation hit hard.
Adding to the anticipation was the fact that Winnipeg based singer songwriter Scott Nolan was on board as producer.
When I started listening to “Uneven Ground” with an eye toward writing this review, I found myself getting lost in the musical differences from her previous album, “River of Sand”.
The drums were quite forward in the mix and there was a lot more piano in the arrangements than before. Was this good? Did it make sense? Did it matter?
After several listens to the complete album, I had the opportunity to see Lynne play most of the songs on the record live, at a CD release show in Toronto, and everything fell into place.
The differences in instrumentation and the mixing choices were interesting, but as has always been the case with a Lynne Hanson record … it is all about the songs. That is to say, it’s about the words.
Lynne Hanson writes and sings about the dark places in a life, the troubles and woes, the hours filled with loss and pain, and she does it with a brilliant poet’s words.
“Sink to the bottom like a stone, you were my heart now I sleep alone …”
“I’m soaked in lonely, I reach for your hand, cold sheets in the darkness, grab nothing but sand …”
“Though I try I realize, you can’t push that pain away, every day in some little way, I know I am gonna miss you …”
In any given song there may be little, aside from resignation and acceptance, to relieve the sense of a soul left alone to fight the slings and arrows. The brilliance, however, is that there are also songs that tell of, if not triumph, at least moments of celebration and respite … moments as Bruce Cockburn has put it, to kick against the darkness.
“I pulled the moon down, grabbed a bottle of wine, danced by the river, sang in the pines …”
“I’ll live the sorrow, won’t beg steal or borrow, to get through tomorrow. It’s not forever, it’s just for now.”
“There ain’t no fixing what I got missing … if I have to be broken then let me be broken with you.”
Yes, a Lynne Hanson album tends to dwell in the shadows of a life, but it also brings an acknowledgment that despite the shadows, the darkness and the pain, there will be moments of light and even joy and happiness. These are not prizes which can be sought and won, but rather gifts to be taken as they come. Like the shadows and the hurts, the joys are not forever, they’re just for now.
Uneven Ground is our Feature Album of the Week on FolkNRoots Radio. First play through is Saturday at 4 pm Eastern time. Check the schedules on the web site for additional chances to hear the record throughout the week.
Category: Special Features