Dennis Ellsworth Hazy Sunshine

Dennis Ellsworth Hazy Sunshine
8
This follow-up to Ellsworth's 2012 David Barbe-produced effort, Dusk Dreams, finds the PEI-born singer-songwriter venturing into more clearly defined folk-pop territory, with irresistible results. Utilizing a completely Canadian team this time out — including keyboardist Chris Brown, guitarist Tim Bovaconti and Skydiggers' Andy Maize and Josh Finlayson (who also produces) — Ellsworth sounds entirely comfortable in this bright, briskly paced new environment. While Ellsworth isn't in quite the same songwriting league as Ron Sexsmith, he comes at the material on Hazy Sunshine in a similar melodic and emotional way. Songs rarely overstay their welcome, and Ellsworth's often-hushed delivery establishes a surprising level of intimacy. Like the subject of one of the album's standout tracks, "Harry Nilsson's Heart," Ellsworth comes off as the underdog you just can't help but root for. Gord Downie fans will also want to hear what Ellsworth's done with his poem "Coke Machine Glow," but for the merely curious, Hazy Sunshine is an album that's almost too charming for its own good. (Busted Flat)