Danny Michel Valhalla

The still-swelling following of this prolific Canadian singer-songwriter will likely be pleased with this fine effort. 2004’s tribute to David Bowie, Loving the Alien, reportedly received the thumbs up from the man himself (the flattery of imitation perhaps), but seemed rather a squandering of Michel’s own compositional talents. They are back in evidence here, happily. Like Bowie, Danny is something of a musical chameleon, and there’s plenty of variety in the tunes on this, his seventh solo effort. ”Midnight Train” is sweet pop with a Josh Rouse-like vibe, while "Tennessee Tobacco” has a jaunty countrified feel befitting lyrics like: "Your love is like Tennessee tobacco, it’s killing me, but all I want is more.” Joao Carvalho (Pilate, Hawksley Workman) produced, and things are kept relatively stripped-down, musically. The melodic strengths of Michel’s voice and his fluent playing are showcased nicely on simpler tunes like "It’s Not The End Of The World” and "Running,” while his musical and lyrical sense of humour shine through on "White Lightning,” a breezy tune that name checks Paul Simon’s "50 Ways To Leave Your Lover.” In all, a hellishly good album. (MapleMusic)