Album review

Ken Yates – Quiet Talkers

 

For anyone having read any of my previous articles here on Roots Music Canada, you’ll be well aware of my love of listening to records. For me, nothing compares to the tangible benefits of holding a record in your hands and reading the large-format liner notes – or to the way that playing an album on your turntable forces you to slow down and focus on the music.

So it’s still a thrill every time a new album arrives in the mail. The latest arrival was Canadian singer-songwriter Ken Yates’ forthcoming release, Quiet Talkers. The album is the third for the award- winning artist and is produced by Jim Bryson.

Congratulations to Ken for releasing Quiet Talkers on vinyl. I still love tearing open the packaging, pealing off the plastic wrapping, sliding the record out and placing it on the turntable for the very first spin. Maybe it’s all in my head but I swear even new albums have their own unique smell.

Once the needle drops, I sit back with liner notes in hand and listen to the entire album from start to finish. Sometimes I’ll listen to an album multiple times that first day. Such was the case with Quiet Talkers.

You can tell something is special when you simply can’t get enough of it. Quiet Talkers has been on heavy rotation at our house, and thanks to Ken’s wise decision to include the lyrics in the liner notes (not all artists do, which is a shame), whenever we do get to see him live, we’ll eagerly be singing along.

Quiet Talkers is a beautiful album from start to finish. While its foundation is built upon Ken’s consistently strong yet surprisingly underrated writing, he wisely gave Jim Bryson unhindered influence over the arrangements, which allowed him to build a sonic masterpiece.

Quiet Talkers is the work of a self-described “quietest person in the room.” Ken has much to say, but he doesn’t feel the need to shout just to be heard. The tone that Jim Bryson skillfully weaves throughout Quiet Talkers forces the listener to sit back and listen to quiet talkers artists like Ken, who are all too often overlooked.

Ken Yates should be commended for releasing an album in the midst of a pandemic, but the timing couldn’t have been better for the stand-out single “Surviving Is Easy.” The song and it’s message have unintentionally become a mantra for those of us struggling to get through this crisis.

“Surviving is easy, living is hard”

Quiet Talkers is set to be released on May 22.

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