Rob Szabo Life & Limb

As one of Canada’s most underrated independent singer-songwriters, Rob Szabo has done a lot of hard travelling. Yet that dedication to his craft paid off with his last album, Like A Metaphor, which spawned minor hit "Breaking Even.” Life & Limb, Szabo’s third full-length solo outing, builds on that momentum with ten more finely constructed tracks that transcend the increasingly predictable acoustic balladeer genre. While Szabo has proven himself adept at pop melodies, most of this new record finds him in a more reflective and rootsy state of mind, especially on "Last Night,” a gorgeous waltz on which he shares vocals with Kerri Ough. Other significant contributions come from Blue Rodeo’s Bob Egan and keyboardist Jesse O’Brien, but the real stars are Szabo’s songs. It’s telling that at 35 minutes, Life & Limb seems criminally short, but with Szabo sounding at the top of his game, it undoubtedly won’t take too long for the next instalment of his ongoing musical travelogue to appear. (Independent)