Orillia Opry Pandion Haliaetus

Whether the duo of Daniel Noble and Emma Baxter are from Orillia, ON is a minor mystery, but they sure do take a cue from the opry side of things. Although more folk-based than country, there is still a dedication to rawness that gives this debut a gentle intimacy. While the band shine with upbeat numbers like "Aunt June Angelina,” their true talent lies in the minimal ideas found in "It’s Rare.” With nothing but effortless strumming of a guitar, Noble evokes the classic sense of longing, and this is accentuated by the addition of Baxter’s harmonies and piano. Simple and elegant, this may not light people’s feet on fire, but it says wonders for this duo’s talent. The closing "Lone Dogs Will Roam” is another strong effort that goes for the gut with its slow build and attention to detail. When the duo, along with Timber’s Warren Spicer, hit their three-part harmonies and shuffling acoustic beat, it is nothing less than sublime. Straddling the line between throwback to cathartic country and downbeat folk, Pandion hits very few wrong notes, allowing Noble and Baxter’s sincerity to shine through. A strong debut, to say the least. (Ships at Night)