Eddy Gouchie Stronger

Digdeguash, New Brunswick is now known for more than its quiet lake and neighbouring resorts. Powerhouse performer Eddy Gouchie deserves a plaque in his honour with this jaw-dropping, where-did-he-come-from second release, recorded with the help of fellow unsung hero, J.P. Cormier. "Nobody Loves Me Better” comes rocketing out of the gates with the get-up-and-go of a pre-lush Lyle Lovett in its confident delivery as a hard-picking, country shuffle. Equally eclectic, Gouchie switches gears into a darker mode, recalling Fred Neil with ”This Town,” adding shades of Lightfoot on the graceful "More Things Change.” At the same time, Gouchie’s voice is very much his own and it rides herd over each of 12 very original compositions that ably demonstrate his gift with a lyric and a melody. His rich guitar-playing skills, combined with the sizeable contributions of Cormier (on guitars, bass, snare, mandolin, fiddle, etc.) and Russell Sawler on banjo make this very much a guitar-player’s record as well. This is a highly animated presentation with aggressive arrangements and superb instrumentation. You might be tempted to classify this singer-songwriter as a folk singer but each track is injected with so much personality that it supersedes the category. It’s that good, and Gouchie deserves our attention. It’s a disc that’s difficult to stop playing. (Independent)