From the opening bars of the first song you have the feeling that this journey is going to be very special, it has you ready to grab that rail and climb aboard.
The first song is the title track ' Empty Train ', which was born in Ashcroft BC, Canada where David observed un-laden ore trains travelling along the tracks heading up the Thompson river, he says it was the most lonesome sound he had ever heard and the groove that the band brings to it is almost like a syncopated heartbeat giving life that runs the entire length of those tracks and this album.
Scottish-Canadian poet, songwriter and musician, David Francey says that this album was inspired by people he met working in rail yards, construction sites and the Yukon bush over many years, or about chance meetings and observations, he said " Some of the songs have waited a while to be born, to have life breathed into them. "
Happy to have been a construction worker until retirement, reluctantly pushed into music by his wife, he really seems to be revelling in his alternative career path. This album, his first in three years, brings out the enjoyment he is obviously having in the recording studio, the musicians he has chosen to compliment the lyrics and enhance his melodies are amazingly talented, multi-instrumentalists Mark Westberg, Chris Coole and Darren McMullen all bring a joyous element to the whole album, raising it beyond outstanding, it contains a co-write, ' Junkie's Heart ', with none other than Colin and John-Angus MacDonald of rock band The Trews, along with some superb contributions from John Showman ( Fiddle ), Mandy Connell ( Backing Vocals ), Rachel Davis ( Fiddle ) and Colin Francey ( Backing vocals and Acoustic Guitar ).
David masterfully relates experiences in his songs, ' Holy Ground ' was inspired by sitting next to a man on a plane, a magician called ' Coach ', who told him he was travelling to the holy land on a pilgrimage and he wanted to do magic tricks for the Arab children there, an hour long conversation never forgotten. These are songs about real people, ' Hospital ' written when visiting his Father in hospital not knowing if he might get home this time or not, ' you never know ' the last line says.
Having a very short career in music, compared to some, it's an astonishing achievement to have won many awards, including 3 Juno's, and recognition as one of Canada's finest songwriters, telling of everyday life through song. This album is a change in perspective from his last which was very introspective, this is in some ways a look outward, outward at people, chronicling their stories and that's what he does spectacularly and effortlessly, although the title would suggest no one is on board, I for one am on that train and I'm never getting off, repeat has just been pressed, the fire has been stoked, you should come along for the ride.
|Ian Siegal & Jimbo Mathus: Wayward Sons||Cecile Doo-Kingue: Anybody Listening Pt. 2: Dialogues|
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