Jon-Rae Fletcher Oh, Maria

Jon-Rae Fletcher Oh, Maria
Following an absence from public life precipitated by personal upheaval, Jon-Rae Fletcher remains one of Canada's most intriguing young folk artists. Battering Toronto with the gale of Jon-Rae and the River's alt-gospel revelry, Fletcher should've expected the city to bite back. In the end, he lost his band, his love and jeopardized his health before retreating to BC for repairs. It's easy then to read the dark, contemplative Oh, Maria as some outpouring of self-conscious reflection. There are certainly elements of Fletcher within "The Story" and "The Big Talker" but they're weaved within a narrative about another tragic figure whose evil is less tangible, his love more complex. The recurring "Maria" here is idealized salvation, personified for an irredeemable con man, whose story is told against a backdrop of acoustic guitar and tasteful ambiance conjured by players like Darcy Hancock (Ladyhawk) and Kathryn Calder (Immaculate Machine). Singing clear and strong, Jon-Rae Fletcher is back and we're lucky for it. (Weewerk)