Tom Wilson and Bob Lanois The Shack Recordings: Part 1

When word started going around a couple of years ago that Bob Lanois — the enigmatic older brother of Daniel, and co-founder of their first studio ventures — was getting back into recording at his isolated home base outside of Hamilton, many local musicians jumped at the chance to work with a true innovator. Longtime Lanois family friend Wilson seemed a natural choice for a significant collaboration, as lately he has been hitting another peak in his songwriting career with Blackie & the Rodeo Kings. Wilson has always sounded best in the simplest settings, and The Shack Recordings certainly provides one. The intimacy that Lanois captures is actually quite striking; the feeling of the room is palpable, and Wilson rises to the occasion with perhaps the most unaffected performances he’s ever done. The songs are among his best too, with "Fennell Square” and "Let Your Old Star In” being only two of the standouts. For his part, Lanois shows remarkable restraint in colouring the songs with only his harmonica, back-up vocals and the occasional ambient texture. The Shack Recordings is a thoroughly satisfying collection, and I can hardly wait for the next instalment. (Divine)