There is something about February that makes me want to spend my days sitting by a window, silently brooding and sipping copious amounts of tea.
Peterborough winters tend to feel particularly isolating, especially when the snow keeps falling. Everyday, home seems further away. Luckily, I have finally found the soundtrack to my snow-fuelled angst. Jon Creeden (Ottawa, ON) and Jesse LeBourdais (Vancouver, BC), two of Canada’s most promising solo-acoustic acts, have come together to release Home, a two-song split released this past December through My Fingers! My Brain! Records.
Other reviewers may choose to pit one song against the other in some sort of hypothetical grudge match to determine which is the strongest and ultimate victor. I would rather speak to how these songs work together and turn what appears to be just the teeniest taste of what these two artists have to offer into something much more satisfying.
In such a small package, there are two songs that deal equally well with themes of love, sacrifice, and revelling in the glory of past mistakes.
First up is Creeden’s “Decaying Cities.” Gruff and guttural, Creeden pushes his melody out with an emotional force that demonstrates that his fairytale of finding a place to call home finds its inspiration in lived experience.
Both Creeden and LeBourdais are veterans of the Canadian touring circuit and this album stands as a testament to the trials and tribulations of the road. The accompanying guitar is both uplifting and soothing, a pleasant complement to Creeden’s raw presence. The group vocals add the final touch, pulling out the underlying sweetness of the lyrics for a song that will undoubtedly have its listeners adding their own voices to the chorus.
The second half of the album belongs to LeBourdais’s track, “Burnt Out Frame.” As with Creeden, LeBourdais sings with his whole self – always in earnest, but somehow more controlled with the occasional spurt of energy bursting through to break the surface.
I feel confident in stating that as a songwriter, LeBourdais stands at a level that is above and beyond many of his peers. At times heart-achingly beautiful, the lyrics champion a life full of friends and no regrets, anchored by the idea that there exists a place for each of us to take up roots and find rest.
Creeden and LeBourdais have created something truly special: an album that only gives listeners a small hint of their talent, but that is so expertly balanced (in terms of both music and concept). Home is the perfect introduction to both musicians who each boast a large body of work that I strongly encourage you to explore.
As for myself, while I pour myself yet another cup of tea and wait in vain for the frost to thaw, I will listen to these songs and let them take me home.
Artists: Jon Creeden and Jesse LeBourdais
Album: Home (7” split)
Released: December 10, 2013
Label: My Fingers! My Brain! Records