An eclectic acoustic country
roots album from a true Canadian maverick
FREE AS THE WIND is Petunia’s third album release in four years. I reviewed PETUNIA & THE VIPERS in 2012 and greatly enjoyed its splendid ly surreal qualities. Now Petunia opts for a simpler format, teaming up with guitarist Nathan Godfrey with support from Gratia Leitch on piano and Jacques Mindreau on violin. The result is a sparser but invigorating production.
The opening track, Lou Lou, bounces from the speakers with cajun-styled energy and the speed of Petunia’s vocals is dynamic. By contrast, it is followed by a song from his 2012 album, the hauntingly beautiful Cricket Song, complete with Jimmie Rodgers-type yodel and a tender guitar accompaniment from Godfrey. Again we change gear for the chilling Death Himself, where Petunia’s skilful bilingual lyrics, paint a familiar taut picture of the hooded scythe wielder. ‘There’s a heavy shrouded man, a sickle in his hand/ Does he have a song? You can see his eyes/ He just sees through you.’ This dark picture could have come from Lou Reed or Nick Cave.
Bloom Bloom Bloom returns to the sprightly side of Petunia’s performance as he barks in staccato fashion, in 70s’ David Byrne fashion, a song by friend Al Mader. California Blues returns to late 40s’ country as Petunia and Godfrey conjure up hillbilly magic on a Jimmie Rodgers original. The title track is a paean to Petunia’s love of travel that has taken him far from his native Quebec. ‘As I look back upon the wide open sky, I can see all my friends/ There they have gone and left me to travel.’
On the 2012 disc, Petunia performed a stunning version of the Nat King Cole hit, Stardust, here he closes this rewarding album with another Cole standard,
“An eclectic acoustic country roots album…”
Petunia FREE AS THE WIND, reviewed by Simon Beards
Nature Boy, whispered witha cool intensity. FREE AS THE WIND is the work of a major talent, walking a singular path, picking up pebbles to become musical gems. Listen to his music and then listen again and again! Simon Beards
Petunia FREE AS THE WIND Photo Gallery
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