Bob Egan The Promise

This second solo effort by the ex-Wilco and current Blue Rodeo steel-man shows him fully immersed in his new Canadian surroundings. It seems forever since he's moved here, and he's played with every band with the slightest twang from all across the country. Many return the favour on this album, including members of Blue Rodeo, the Sadies, Luther Wright & the Wrongs, and the Be Good Tanyas. Predictably, there's some awesome playing on the record, as Egan is able to layer his talents on many stringed instruments, but that rarely overshadows the songs. While Egan's voice isn't usually what's front and centre, he's still able to convey plenty of emotion to go along with the atmospherics on "Disconnected" and his lament to his adopted land, "Cold Wind." In fact, Egan and Greg Keelor's warm production recalls classic Gene Clark records, and the overall effect, at times, is that you're part of an intimate gathering of friends that just happen to be some of the best musicians in the country. (Independent)