With folk music making a big comeback, it’s only fitting to include somebody who sets the genre apart. As a Canadian (Sorry to break the news), I take pride in my musicians. While I should have a bias for any act who’s from the great north, I find the best music is coming from the U.S. right now. That might be from having an enormous difference in population, but the quality is just there for any act emerging from the south. I want to change that stereotype, and present one of the most naturally talented guitarists, Dallas Sutherland from Toronto, Ontario.
He takes modern playing techniques and merges them with his outstanding originals to create a signature sound. I recently picked up his new EP, Silver Birch Sessions, and was blown away. From the beginning, there’s a steady beat of harmonics that follow by a subtle strum pattern. It sets the tone for the 17 and a half minute adventure. Tightrope is a blend of great finger picking and country twang chord swishes. It’s like listening to a old time spaghetti-western fight scene. Very entertaining instrumentals.
The song that caught me from this EP was the track, “Pointing Flashlights At The Sky”. The melody is sweet, but the adds this nostalgic atmosphere when the bass notes strike together. The chorus is gripping, and I couldn’t finish this sentence right now when it began. “Pandora’s Lullaby” has a Nick Drake sound, and nails it down to the high pitched melody throughout the track. “My Beautiful Miss” opens with 8th notes of harmonics, then slides into a cozy little pattern of finger-picked strings. The closest comparison would be the ending of Sufjan Steven’s epic, “Impossible Soul”, with more drive. The final song, “Swan Song”, is exactly that. The influence of “Dear Prudence” by The Beatles is huge. I’ve always thought that was The Beatles best song off of their self-titled album, and this track could be very easily yours.
The knock I have is I want to hear more originality. I love being able to grab what influences are internalized in the artist, but on the final track, it can feel like a cover song. That being said, this is a five track EP that showcases Sutherland’s talent and natural song writing abilities. If there’s anything I wish to note, it’s that this guy is worth checking out. I think my dream collaboration right now would be Dallas Sutherland and Keaton Henson. The two would have a great contrast in sound, but together they could form amazing ideas.
Be sure to check out the EP released by Dallas Sutherland here: http://dallassutherland.bandcamp.com/
Don’t forget to check his website at: http://dallassutherland.com/#