Belinda Bruce Dream Yourself Awake

This Vancouver-based singer-songwriter has been active on the local club and festival scene, and this much-anticipated debut deserves to bring her national recognition. It features a nice combination of elements, juxtaposing prominent cello with more traditional roots-associated instrumentation. The result is a sonic fusion of chamber folk and earthier tones. Producer Jon Wood does double duty here by taking a very prominent musical role. His instruments range from banjo, lap steel and acoustic guitar to organ, Wurlitzer, xylophone, melodics, drums and toy piano. His earlier production work with the likes of Herald Nix and Shelley Campbell has drawn approving notice, and he's clearly a substantial talent. Another key contributor is cellist and harmony vocalist Christie Staudhammer. Those seeking short snappy songs with grabby melodies should look elsewhere. Five of the nine tracks here click in at five minutes or more, and it takes a few listens for the tunes to slowly ingratiate themselves. The patience is rewarded by this impressive and impressionistic work. (Maximum Music)