Sweet Change of Direction for Canada’s Queen of Americana.
Singer-songwriter Lynne Hanson has been hailed as “Canada’s own queen of Americana” which doesn’t fully do her justice.
Sure she’s equally adept at folk, country, rock, and blues — all of which are undeniably “Americana” staples, (one day I really need to do an article on just what is Americana, if I can ever figure it out myself) — and her songwriting is improving, even to a point where she seemingly can write satisfyingly about anything, but she’s evolving to a point where if she ever hits the main stream, she’ll be ready.
No, she’s not turning into Taylor Swift, as I believe that Hanson has too much grit and dirt floor mixed in with her blood for her tunes to ever go that route. Lynne Hanson? She’s a real deal, paying her dues, playing her songs, on the road and in the studio.
On Just Words, her sixth full length studio album, she definitely seems more relaxed, her voice stronger and confident, the songs focused and deeper in meaning. Some of this credit could be due to veteran producer Jim Bryson, who was apparently able to get Hanson out of her “comfort zone” and stretch her artistic wings a bit.
Her voice has never been finer, and the ensemble playing here really adds gravitas too. Listen to that compressed electric guitar on several of these songs, adding just the right amount of grit and tension, the snippets of swirling organ, or the mandolin and pedal steel that show up in just the right places.
It helps to have an arsenal of fine musicians playing your tunes, and Hanson chooses them wisely and puts them to good use.
Opening track “True Blue Moon” is a pleasant pop song, as is “Such a Random Thing,” while “Lollipops and Roses” is a bluesy plea for independence, but we also get darker songs such as “Long Walk Home” which deals with heartbreak and the downward spiral of loneliness.
The title track “Just Words” shows how verbal abuse can be just as demoralizing as physical abuse. Hanson takes care in crafting her lyrics and it shows, while her melodies have never been purer.
With six albums under her belt, Hanson keeps getting better. Catch her live if you can, she’s currently touring Canada before heading to Europe.
Review courtesy The Legendary Roy Peak.
Released February 7th 2020