John Guliak and the Lougan Brothers The Black Monk

Talent proliferates in the Vancouver roots scene, if John Guliak and the Lougan Brothers are anything to go by. The Black Monk, the singer/songwriter’s debut, features the likes of Linda McRae, Carolyn Mark and the fabulous picking of Tolan O’Neil, among others. Once compared to Gordon Lightfoot, for his warm vocal style, I would venture to say that the comparison goes deeper than that. Where Lightfoot is the prototypical Canadian troubadour, it would appear that the torch has been successfully passed to Guliak, who takes on similar themes in his songwriting. Originally from Saskatchewan, he captures life on the road in this vast nation with "Worm Dance,” Toronto leaks out of his pen and into the song "Living on Grace” and "Oh! Canada” simply lays out the malaise of someone who loves where he’s from but not what we’ve made it. But this isn’t the flannel, duct tape and hockey Canada as beer companies would have it; Guliak’s home is day to day lived in and universal. That’s where the cover of "Streets of Baltimore” makes a great opening track — a song about loving the bright lights. Other wonderful rearrangements of classic tunes, like "Old Slewfoot” and "Hey Hey Hey,” make The Black Monk a welcome debut for John Guliak and the Lougan Brothers. (Mint)