Published Sep 08, 2014Slow Leaves is described as the solo project of Winnipeg roots singer/songwriter Grant Davidson, but his superb new album Beauty Is So Common features extensive input from Rusty Matyas (Imaginary Cities, the Weakerthans). Matyas co-produced with Davidson and, save for bass on one track, they played all the instruments here. That's noteworthy, as the musicianship (and production) on display here is first-rate. "Second Chances," for instance, features evocative keyboards, crisp guitar and a walking bass line that perfectly complements Davidson's warm and intimate vocal style. That tune was the title track of the three-song EP Slow Leaves delivered last year, and another strong cut, the rollicking "Life Of A Better Man," is also reprised from that release.
The mellow quality of Davidson's voice has drawn comparisons to the likes of Doug Paisley and JJ Cale, while the overall sound of the record brings to mind the California country-folk singer/songwriter albums of the early '70s (he would have been a fitting inmate on that era's Asylum label). There is just enough variety in the tempos and tones of the songs here to maintain your interest, allowing the material's subtle strengths to win you over. This is an album of uncommon beauty. (Independent)