Jim Bryson The Occasionals

Known for backing up nearly half the bands in town, Ottawa's Jim Bryson finally steps forth with this much-anticipated debut album. In fact, if he'd kept himself a little less busy, The Occasionals would've seen the light some time ago. Since ending his tenure with Punchbuggy a few years back, Bryson has done time with the likes of Slo' Tom and Kathleen Edwards. Jim's own music fits in well with this company, his songs riding shotgun on the local songwriting tip. Akin to Whiskeytown's Ryan Adams, Bryson pens country rock with a rather bleak outlook. "Travelled By Land" and "February" showcase his talented band, and most closely represent their rare but tight live performances; for the most part, Bryson's debut is his live show without the beer. Gorgeous gems "Satellite" and "Lately" would bring No Depressioners to their knees, and this slickly-produced (by CBC music savant Bill Stunt) milestone could have the alt-countryers all bowing down if it gets out of the city. And hopefully, it will. (Upright)