Home New music in our mailbox! Album review: Tim Isberg – Prairie Fire

Album review: Tim Isberg – Prairie Fire

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Retired soldier Tim Isberg has been building a career as a singer-songwriter for the past decade or so, having put out two previous albums prior to this one. But he has, to this point, largely been an Alberta phenomenon, flying somewhat under the radar outside the prairies.

This might change that.

Prairie Fire is a thematic collection of songs about prairie history that’s well-crafted, beautifully produced and punctuated with gorgeous instrumental contributions from players like Shannon Johnson of the McDades (fiddle) and Jeff Bradshaw of Ian Tyson’s band (pedal steel).

In fact, the storytelling and sense of place on this album at times evoke Tyson’s cowboy.

The time Tim has spent performing since his last release has smoothed out the rough edges in his voice.

And his writing, which was strong from the start, feels more effortlessly so on this recording.

Memorable tracks include “Letter from Fort MacLeod,” set in Tim’s hometown, “Manitoba’s First Outlaw,” about Gilbert Gordon, who killed a man in a barroom brawl in 1873, and “Ode to Jerry Potts,” about a renowned Northwest Mounted Police scout.

With Prairie Fire, Tim adds to the canon of Alberta artists who have written albums about history – among them, James Keelaghan, Maria Dunn and Cori Brewster.

I’m not sure what’s in the water there that keeps producing these projects, but it’s all great listening whether you’re a history buff or not.

Prairie Fire is pure, polished Canadiana in every sense of the word.

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