Being 19 years and nine albums into her career classifies Kitchener-based roots singer/songwriter Lynn Jackson as a veteran. She may not have broken through commercially, but she's certainly earned the respect of critics and musical peers. Earlier collaborators have included Willie P. Bennett and, on 2015's Songs of Rain, Snow & Remembering, Norman Blake, of Teenage Fanclub fame.
This time out, on new album Follow That Fire, she handed production duties to Cowboy Junkies leader Michael Timmins. His influence is found in the intimate and restrained musical and vocal approach taken, and it's one that allows the strengths of Jackson's material to shine through, but in a gentle fashion. The A-list cast of accompanists includes Timmins on guitar, his brother Peter (drums), Skydigger Josh Finlayson (bass), Aaron Comeau (keyboards, guitar) and Aaron Goldstein (pedal steel). Andy Maize adds lovely harmony vocals to "Meet Me in the City," an album highlight.
Jackson has an imaginative way with song titles, as shown here by "Random Breakdowns, False Starts & New Beginnings" and "Mystery Novels, Short Stories & Car Songs." Her lyrics display real narrative skill, as on the dark tale of "Alice."
The road is a frequent backdrop here, as on the route to freedom described in "No Regrets": "Gonna burn a trail of fire, find some new faces on the way." The occasional detour into less sedate musical terrain would have been welcomed, but this is a consistently strong addition to a discography worth exploring. (Busted Flat)