True story – I came to discover the captivating musical talents of Reid Jamieson and Carolyn Victoria Mill entirely by happenstance. Several years back, I was nowhere near as deeply immersed in Canadian roots music as I have been in the time since, so it was a completely random search that alerted me to this vastly talented duo.
I’ll get to their new album Me Daza in just a moment, which is the reason I’m even penning this piece at the moment, but it was an aimless search one afternoon in iTunes for Elvis Presley cover songs that brought a project of theirs to my attention. Their original release of The Presley Sessions was immediately head-snapping, as much for the original viewpoint and refreshed take on the songs as it was for the sheer, exhilarating clarity of voice and instrumentation.
However, as obvious as it was to me that I should have just clicked to download that recording at the time, for some unknown reason I determined that I wanted to learn a bit more about this Reid Jamieson fellow, and went back to view more of his catalogue, clicking next to listen in on his Songs For A Winter’s Night album. Three songs into previewing that album, I had clicked “purchase”, and I’ve been enjoying that winter recording ever since. Sidebar: I defy you to find a more haunting and beautiful version of Tori Amos’ “Winter”. It still makes me stop what I’m doing to just listen and get lost in the experience of how powerful a well-written song can be in the hands of a master interpreter.
So in summary, for anyone that knows me, to have a collection of winter songs beat out anything Elvis-related is virtually laughable, but that happened. And here we are now, 2019, and Jamieson and Mill have released their latest, Me Daza, an Irish-born and imbued recording of all-new originals aside from one other track co-written by the late Fergus O’Farrell and Glen Hansard (Swell Season, The Frames). O’Farrell’s vocals are even added in for that track as he was unable to release the song before his passing.
I’m going to provide a link to the insightful album creation and backstory on their website, far more eloquent and inclusive than I would have the ability to so provide here – which even includes the full lyrics to each song!
What I’m going to do here is simply provide a few observations, and advise you to download it or stream it as is your prerogative, and hope that you come to discover this duo as I did years ago:
Evergreen – the opening track, a powerhouse vocal workout in such a delicate melody.
Perfect Storm – duet harmonies and intricate fingerpicking drive the story, a bit of Leonard Cohen lurks in the storytelling.
Enough – guitar work and vocals that swirl evocatively back to ’70’s and ’80’s greats like Dan Fogelberg in gentle yet sharply strong upper register vocals, yet then those vocals frequently soar even higher than the heights they reside in for the greater part of the song.
Circles – among the most modern sounding singer/songwriter workouts of the bunch, almost synth pop without actually crossing over the line.
Don’t Go Down (the co-write from the aforementioned songwriters) – the duo are a perfect fit with the original singer and songwriter’s vocals, which have been preserved digitally alongside this recording. This would have been a song to see performed live by them all together…
Dominoes – atmospheric, rich in production and sonic snippets.
Better Man – begins as a Spanish-influenced melody before it explores more western influences – highlights are the husband/wife harmonies that support the lyrics.
She – a ’70’s vibe again – extra voices though – a chorale group?Quite a delightful addition!
Lullaby For The Lost – lush and beautiful instrumental with haunting voice.
The notes in the link above tell much more details about the artists, the songs, the recording process – hopefully this collection of notes piques your interest enough to check it out.
Photos courtesy of reidjamieson.com