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Cary Heuchert — Hourglass
(Oddiyo ODCD-03, 2021, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2021-08-22

Hourglass Cover art A few years back Canadian singer/songwriter Heuchert re-released a remastered version of his 2015 psychedelic folk-rock gem Blue Rain, with an additional bonus track included. No doubt at that time he was probably working on this, the follow-up, which is blessed with all of the best tendencies of its predecessor and much more, combining elements of folk, rock, psychedelic, and progressive, with occasional bluesy touches all rolled into one. It’s hard to listen to Hourglass without wanting to immediately listen to it again, and again. This is one of those albums where the songs just appear in your memory, even days after you heard them last, and that’s a good thing where I come from. Right out of the box, Heuchert’s voice is soothing yet powerful enough to bring these songs to life, along with the thoughtfully crafted lyrics that he has joined them with. Heuchert is a capable multi-instrumentalist, playing nylon string guitar, six and twelve string acoustic and electric guitars, baritone guitar, guitar synth, Moog synthesizer, Mellotron, piano (on one track), fretted and fretless bass, track depending. He is joined on most tracks by drummer Grant Ball, bassist Collin Wade (on three cuts), Miles Hill playing fretless bass on another, even Tony Pagliuca (Le Orme) joins with his piano on one track. The album opens with “This Is the Time,” a beautiful folk number featuring only nylon string accompaniment, his low voice making it perhaps a bit reminiscent of 60s Gordon Lightfoot. With “The Sea of Faces” Ball joins in at the drum kit, while Heuchert breaks out his full arsenal of instrumentation, giving the piece a slightly more progressive rock feel with plenty psychedelic vocal treatments and electronics. “You Are the World to Me” is a soft rock gem that again features Ball at the kit, Pagliuca at the piano, and gobs of Mellotron. Those first three cuts have no blank space between them, so they work together like a ten-minute mini-suite. Other standouts among the album’s ten tracks include “Together,” an outright rocker infused with folk elements, featuring searing electric lead and Mellotron as well. The haunting title track features some echoey vocal effects while maintaining a folky electric vibe throughout, with some beautiful fuzzy lead work for the solo break. Seemingly even more Lightfoot inspired than the opener, “From the Corner of My Eye” gets on with a beautiful instrumental break on the ‘tron. “I Don’t Want to Say Goodnight” boogies on like something Dave Edmunds might have come up with, and is probably the most overt rocker, while the closer “When Fortune Smiles” adopts a fragile acoustic bluesy style complete with slide guitar moves. Any way one looks at it, Hourglass delivers ten outstanding cuts that shine with cosmic brilliance.

Filed under: New releases, 2021 releases

Related artist(s): Cary Heuchert

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