Christine Bougie Hammy's Secret Life

Known primarily for her guitar and lap steel prowess, Toronto’s Christine Bougie bridges genre gaps on this delightfully inventive record. Bougie spent the last year in folkie Amy Millan’s band adding rich, countrified textures to the mix. That rustic side of Bougie’s musical approach is apparent on this collection of instrumentals but the free form nature of these pieces is closer to that of improvised jazz. Whether hammering out guitar leads on "All at Once” or easing into a banjo breakdown on "Eastmount Park,” Bougie’s playing is a revelation. With a band that includes members of Feist and killer jazz percussionist Nick Fraser, tunes like "Think from the End” possess an interesting ’70s hue, while the title track’s post-rock swing and horns recall Torngat. There’s a cool Bitches Brew energy to "Over the Line,” the pulsating keyboards and rhythms adding another dimension to Hammy’s Secret Life, a great, surprising record. (Independent)