Eric Westbury,
Walking Tracks
(Boomtown, 2000)

Walking Tracks is an album of stories set to music that are well presented by the stark voice of Eric Westbury. The influences of bluegrass, rock and rockabilly are evident and enjoyable. The press release classes it as Canadian acoustic roots but I find it veers more towards country -- good country -- music.

The first track, "Tightly Wound," is a nice tune but until I looked at the listing I thought he was singing "tell me when." It's a small quibble, perhaps, but a necessary one nonetheless. "Turbine" is an interesting track with a strong guitar twang. It is a well-written lament for the decline of a farm living and paints a wonderful "word picture" that lingers even after the track fades.

"Walking Tracks," continues his story of loss with a country sound that would easily fit the folk tradition. "Too Many, Too Few" is yet another outstanding story track that transports the listener to another world of sadness as a convict reflects on his life and his remorse at the crimes commited.

For an upbeat banjo-backed track, it is hard to beat "Five Strings." The words are witty and fun while the picking is uncluttered by over production. I imagine Eric would provide a very lively stage performance, especially if he gave us a little background information on these tunes.

Once again I find reviewing a CD a certain sadness mixed with the enjoyment. Eric, like many other songwriters, is out there producing some gems of tunes and lyrics but without air play and the elusive break, millions of potential fans will remain ignorant even of his existence.

[ by Nicky Rossiter ]
Rambles: 4 August 2001