Brent Titcomb Beyond Appearances

Journeyman Canadian folkie Brent Titcomb is a well-respected guitarist and songwriter that incorporates world music influences into his latest CD. With subtle additions of pennywhistle, percussion and tambora, Titcomb's more adventurous material is lively and inspired. His Bobby McFerrin-esque, jazzy vocalisations often prove more engaging than his heavy-handed, though socially conscious, lyrics. Guest musicians play an active role here - Colin Linden's fiery slide guitar playing drives the excellent opening track "Black Water Rising," while violinist Oliver Shroer and bassist David Woodhead help shape the Cockburn-esque "Tibetan Bells." Titcomb's musical palette is broad, and though Beyond Appearances is, at times, inconsistent, his rich voice and sensitive arrangements remain at the core of this intimate recording. (Independent)