Gregory Hoskins The King Of Good Intentions

A largely unsung figure of the Canadian folk-rock scene of the '90s when accompanied by his band, the Stick People, this marks his first official solo album. As part of his continuing adjustment to life as an indie artist, Hoskins here strips his sound to the bare bones, mainly his acoustic guitar and a sparse rhythm section. The simplicity definitely suits the songs, which Hoskins admits in his liner notes encapsulate a recent reassessment of his style. At times, they reflect the solemnity of Daniel Lanois (without the studio effects) and the bounciness of Paul Simon (without the 20-piece backing band). Such comparisons are largely based on Hoskins' brand of quiet soul, which is truly at the heart of this album. His voice is haunting throughout and his lyrics speak of the hard lessons he has obviously learned over the last decade. The King Of Good Intentions is a welcome re-introduction to this gifted Canadian songwriter. (Independent)