Belinda Bruce And The Tawny Stars The Good Life

This Vancouver-based songstress turned heads and ears on the domestic folk scene with her 2005 debut, Dream Yourself Awake. This sophomore outing deserves even greater recognition. Her backing band, the Tawny Stars, earn a co-credit here, and they help give the disc a textured, full-bodied feel that keeps things from getting a little too monochromatic and melancholy. The most obvious stylistic reference point for Bruce is surely Lucinda Williams, and lines like, "should we let this love rust and fade, like the beauty of an old car in a junkyard grave?” would fit nicely in a Lucinda song. They come from "Rust,” a mournful epic nicely punctuated by pedal steel and accordion. Other songs explore a world of thrift shops, cheap apartments, blackouts and bruised hearts, and the languid, world-weary feel of Bruce’s vocals bring them to authentic life. A couple of six-and-a-half-minute tunes ("Citysong” and "Blackout”) could have benefited from a little editing though. Playing key sonic roles are multi-instrumentalist and mixer Jon Wood (Herald Nix) and bassist/engineer Ryen Froggatt. An excellent effort that further boosts Vancouver’s rep as the most creative roots music scene we have. (Bee-Side)