This fifth album from Nova Scotia’s Norma MacDonald maintains the high standards set by her previous releases. Here she’s drawn to the sound of classic early seventies singer songwriters – that Laurel canyon vibe, captured well on the mournful Golden Age with some lovely pedal steel garlands, played by Dale Murray (who also co-produced).
Temperamental Year and Trick Of The Light kick off the album. Likeable enough songs but pretty run of the mill in comparison to the better songs yet to come. A percussive susurration and gentle strings softly propel One Man Band, allowing MacDonald’s voice to shine. Slow Down Marie again features strings, in this case a cello, adding some timbre to this fine song with its hints of Leonard Cohen. Meanwhile I Already Have A Shadow could be a Dolly Parton deep cut while Lover Of Unreason cuts along finely recalling Emmylou Harris. There’s a brief nod to country on the sardonic Your Wedding Day, a song which takes some of the tropes of classic lost love Nashville misery and delivers them in fine fashion. Wrapping it up with the Patsy Cline like weepy, Some Days, MacDonald might not have perfectly caught that California feeling but she’s certainly staked a claim to be considered a very fine singer/songwriter.