Old Reliable Gone Are the Days

On the surface, there isn’t much to set Old Reliable apart from dozens of other alt-country bands who like their guitars just a tad on the distorted side. But this Edmonton combo features the strong songwriting duo of Mark Davis and Shuyler Jansen, who pen convincing country gems that never overstay their welcome. Their vocal styles both lean towards a Jay Farrar drawl, but the primary difference is that these guys actually sing like they mean it, instead of threatening to fall asleep at the wheel. The band — featuring drummer Scott Lingley and bassist Tom Murray — tastefully and transparently colour the arrangements in subtle ways that often transform the song (“Side of You”). There’s a subtle gospel influences as well, and it’s not hard to imagine the whole affair coming to vivid life on a summer night somewhere in northern Alberta, where the sun barely sets. (Independent)