Terry Tufts Walk On

Journeyman Ottawa guitarist Terry Tufts, better known for his virtuoso work as a sideman, has established himself as a compelling country-roots songwriter with Walk On, his fifth solo recording. With folk festival luminary Ian Tamblyn on production duties and a wonderfully seamless cast of players, which includes Willie P. Bennett (harmonica) and Peter Von Althen (drums), Tufts's craft is always given space to shine. The breezy "Hope Nobody Knows This But Me," complete with tongue-in-cheek lyrics, slippery vocal phrases and an irresistible chorus, kick-starts the record. From there, like similarly minded songsters John Hiatt and Stephen Fearing, he manages to fuse a pop aesthetic with a more traditional "folk" styling. Both "In the Arms of Margaret Ann" and "One" demonstrate his compelling sense of lyricism and tasteful finger-picking style on the guitar and dobro. Incidentally, the weakest track on the album is his cover of John Martyn's "Sweet Little Mystery," but is a rare blemish on an otherwise brilliantly sequenced and forward-thinking slice of Ontario folk. (Borealis)