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David Newberry: A new voice worth remembering

Despite its seemingly negative-sounding title — No One Will Remember You — and somewhat sombre graphics, David Newberry’s second album’s contents are surprisingly uplifting, if not altogether thrilling.

Newberry — a Vancouverite (by way of Ontario) — carries a very distinctive new voice onto the playing field, having distinguished himself through the writing and arranging of each of these nine sturdy originals. Songs. Real songs, together with a sound that’s strong enough to set him apart from more everyday singer-songwriters.

Credit fellow musicians Lucas Goetz (drums, pedal steel, vocals), Adam Iredale-Gray (banjo, electric guitar, viola/fiddle, mandolin, vocals), Daniel McCormack (bass, vocals) and a host of others, including Meg Iredale-Gray (vocals) and Matt Campbell (electric guitar) — because this is obviously a team project. Although Newberry sits pretty in the foreground, the musicians he’s surrounded himself with have each contributed heavily to this 9-track disc.

Newberry’s strong vocals are clean and clear, (sometimes reminiscent of a subdued cross between Mike Scott and Paul Westerberg while others have likened him to David Gray and Corin Raymond — quite the range) with the power to easily cut through, but he prefers to park them atop heady backdrops. Beautifully ambient embraces of soaring pedal steel, viola and fiddle add significant Sturm and Drang to the lonely, almost forlorn content of his darkly poetic lyrics.

Each of these satisfying songs — self-enhancing with repeat listens — is quite different than the next, revealing a talented songwriter, if not a savvy arbiter of rich ideas.

Is it folk? Folk-rock or roots music? Who cares? Newberry immerses the listener into the gentle, acoustic guitar-strummed beginnings of “All of the Apples in the Basket” until the talented Goetz unleashes sheets of pedal steel magic while Jenny Ritter applies deft harmonies to Newberry’s slightly Dylanesque whine, together with Adam Iredale-Gray’s banjo.

Newberry’s tirade against fake people in “Easter” relies on  subtle electric guitar shadings and tom-tom percussion to drive home one of the album’s strongest hooks. While the title track plays to a wall of ringing guitars and the big drum sound of Lucas Goetz, “So It Goes” injects angular, tortured guitar as Campbell’s sensationally-disturbed (guitar) solo adds a sense of danger, in two parts. The aggressive “Rock Bottom” hits its mark as Iredale-Gray’s violin rips into the heart of the song which, together with subdued guitar, unloads another disc highlight. The comparatively mellow “Mister”  with its weeping pedal steel and dynamic female harmonies (Meg Iredale-Gray), give birth to a mysterious keeper, recalling The Waterboys at times.

Save yourself for the near-epic pleading of “Hold On” – its larger-than-life chorus blending with sinewy guitars as Newberry delivers his most addictive vocal to exceptional accompaniment. “English Bay” serves up the low pleasures of guilt against beautiful pedal steel and Goetz’ aboriginal beats. Ending with the uncharacteristically upbeat “To Hope”, Newberry closes the show with an acoustic guitar/mandolin-driven duet with the raw-husked burl of guest Corbin Murdoch lending, along with more weeping pedal steel, a strong Steve Earle-esque country feel to the disc.

Looks like, despite the title, Newberry may be remembered after all…

Don’t miss the chance to see Newberry deliver these goods live, as the songs deserve.


APRIL 1st @ 8pm: House Concert, MONTREAL, QC
APRIL 4th: @ 9pm: Cameron House, TORONTO, ON
APRIL 5th: @ 8pm: The Spill, PETERBOROUGH, ON
APRIL 6th: @ 8pm: The Mansion, KINGSTON, ON
APRIL 8th @ 8pm: C’est What?!, TORONTO, ON
JUNE 1st @ 8pm: Solstice Café, VICTORIA, BC
JUNE 2nd @ 8pm: Garage Showroom, DUNCAN, BC

 

 

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