Harri Palm Pope of the Woods

There’s brute honesty in the plainly delivered rock of Guelph’s Harri Palm, yet his songs contain distinctively rich tones and energy. Performing publicly for more than 30 years, Palm’s been touched by myriad musical styles, and bits of the blues, punk and new wave inform his roots-y folk songs. A gifted guitarist with a nose for nursing a song’s feel rather than chasing the perfect take, Palm is proficient nonetheless, inviting great musicians over to build his latest songs. There’s an earnest protest vibe in Palm’s material, including the purposefully hokey title track, which delves into environmental irresponsibility, and the greed-busting "I Could Live Forever.” Aspects of Bruce Springsteen and Steve Earle surface on "Fuel for the Fire” and "Leave it All Behind,” which drop poetry for hard truths. On occasion, Harri Palm would do well to lift his heavy hand but then again, subtlety would muck up his potent message songs. (Independent)