As I’ve written previously, in this and other spaces, David Francey didn’t begin his career as a performing or recording artist until he was well into middle age (click here for a feature article I wrote about David in 2005). However, over the past dozen years, this plain-spoken Scottish-Canadian artist has firmly established himself as one of the most engaging and poetic singer-songwriters of our time. And, while he didn’t release his first album until 1999, he’s been prolific ever since. Late Edition is his ninth album – including a live CD and a Christmas set – and it maintains the high level of songwriting craftsmanship that David set on his first recording and which he’s maintained since.
In 2005, David went to Nashville and recorded The Waking Hour in off-the-floor sessions with top flight studio musicians assembled by producer Kieran Kane. This album reunites David and Kieran, along with multi-instrumentalist Fats Kaplin, who also played on The Waking Hour, guitarist Richard Bennett and drummer Lucas Kane. Again, the album was recorded in off-the-floor sessions with David singing while the musicians played. It’s a recording process that is great when it works – and it certainly does on these 12 songs (including one that’s an a cappella solo).
David notes that many of the songs on Late Edition were written in response to news – personal news, local news or world news. I would add that a couple would seem to be about how the media covers news. These songs would include “Yesterday’s News,” a commentary on the ephemeral nature of what we consider to be news, and “Pretty Jackals,” a metaphorical analysis of how television, in particular, exploits the news.
As is typical of almost any David Francey album, the highlights include several songs that deal with various aspects of love and relationships. In “Wonder,” he reflects on what might have been with an old love that didn’t work out, while in “Grateful,” he celebrates a long-term love that did.
Kieran and the other Nashville musicians adapt well to David’s personal, folk-rooted, style of songwriting. And, in “I Live in Fear,” co-written with Kieran, they bring out his heretofore hidden rock ‘n’ roll side.
For folks in Montreal – or who will be in Montreal next week – David will closing out the Festival Folk sur le canal on Sunday, June 19. (By the way, I'll be MCing at the festival in the mid-afternoon on Sunday.)