The Graham Brown Band Hiwatt

He's been flying largely under the radar of the mainstream, but BC-based country rocker Brown has remained prolific. After cutting his teeth in the great Jr. Gone Wild, Brilliant Orange and Happyman, he's become a prolific solo artist. The fact that this, his tenth album, is arguably his best yet testifies to his commitment. The name of his backing band has been contracted (formerly the Prairie Dogs), but they remain fine foils to the songwriting and vocal talents of Brown. This is a generous 18-song collection, primarily recorded live-off-the-floor. Brown turns up the guitars on tunes like "Gonna Be A While" and "Yonder Way," the latter hinting at an Arc Angels guitar sound. There's a power pop feel (albeit with slide guitar) to "Tonight From Liverpool," a song that's not wishful thinking, given that Brown has earned a UK following. Obvious reference points on Hiwatt include Neil Young (the spiralling guitar work on "Potions"), Blue Rodeo ("Quietly in the Night") and Tom Petty (strong opening cut "Bust Your Lip"). There's nothing groundbreaking, but the solid craftsmanship of Brown's songwriting and his convincing vocal and guitar style carry the day nicely. (Stomp)