Martin Tielli We Didn't Even Suspect that HE Was the Poppy Salesman

Martin Tielli is a man of many musical talents and he puts most of them to use at his day job in the Rheostatics. Rheos fans expecting swooping electric guitar work or grandiose operatic rock shouldn't expect more of that here, instead, Tielli does the one thing he rarely ever does with the Rheos: unleash his early Bruce Cockburn influence by sitting down at the campfire and softly swooning to the stars. His first true solo album, (discounting the carnival-esque Nick Buzz project), is a raw yet rich recording featuring acoustic guitar, the intimate intricacy of Tielli's compelling voice and not much else, aside from a lot of cushioning reverb provided by producer Michael Phillip Wojewoda. This album smells like hardwood, its ambience recalling an old cabin in northern Ontario in the morning of a summer rainstorm. Tielli's ability to conjure such a mood is more instantly impressive than the songwriting itself, which reveals itself slowly. It's obvious here what exactly he brings to the Rheos, but also what exactly they bring to him; the most direct song here is co-written with Dave Bidini. The others are often more abstract and daring, somewhere between Gordon Downie and Michelle McAdorey's recent work, all of which re-imagines Canadian folk music as a progressive and amorphous world of bleeding colours, a soundtrack to the natural psychedelia of the Northern Lights. Put it in your headphones and walk through the woods. (Six Shooter)