Tim Harrison Grey County

Tim Harrison’s eighth release is an intrusive effort. Giving it a good listen, I left it alone for awhile and upon returning to it, the opening notes of the rapturous "Don Quixote’s Dream” sent a shiver down my spine, a measuring stick for great music. This song, in particular, is haunting — echoing the tired perspective of Cervantes’ key figure as he gathers strength from his friend and servant, Sancho Panza. Despite Grey County’s (named for the place, not the mood) dark sentiments, Harrison probes the positive through his choice of subject matter and lyrics. Yet it is the rich tapestry of instrumental backdrop to each of his works that provides the true sparkle of sunshine, like well-defined rays breaking through the clouds to reassure the most disheartened of listeners. Enter the banjo — an effective new tool in Harrison’s arsenal, adding even more texture to an already colourful style. "Your Love Brings Me Around” is a case in point, with bluegrass leanings adding a smile to its happy ending. "We Believed,” another shiver-inducing tour de force, recalls Lightfoot at his most uplifting and a chorus that hits the mark. Likewise, "Dan’s Song” transfixes the listener with a sad tale of intolerance in epic proportions. Of special note is the pick-me-up power of the contagious "Pack Up Your Sorrows,” a Richard Farina song and the only non-original on the ten-song collection. The combined guitar work of Paul Mills and Harrison is exemplary. Harrison has again succeeded in creating a record that demonstrates his commanding warmth and significant presence over his material and, in doing so, he carries a proud torch that celebrates a sense of place as it underlines our common lineage. (Independent)