Norma MacDonald, Morning You Wake
2009 ECMA nominee, Norma MacDonald’s third album, Morning You Wake, is an easy-to-love collection of country songs that gets better with every listen. MacDonald and producer Phil Sedore have taken the time and consideration to create a diverse collection of stories that hit an emotional note with the listener.
“Cordelia” greets the listener with a simple accordion line and MacDonald’s beautiful voice as she reflects on a life-long friendship. She continues to score big on heartfelt follow-ups “Lesson Learned”, “Ages” and “Bright as You Dare”; All feature different arrangements that resonate a country vibe but are alt-rock, pop and jazz influenced respectively.
I won’t hold you back this time, you were meant to burn and shine, and I was made for leaving behind, so go where you’re going….
This is one of my favourite lines on the record and is the theme for key track, “Canada Day”. When MacDonald hits that line, instead of sounding resentful or bitter, she celebrates the growth of this person with harmonious layers of organ, steel lap and horns. Again, MacDonald reaches folk perfection on the brooding “Black Hearts of the Company” a song based on Cape Breton coal-miner William Davis, who was shot and killed by mining police during a protest in 1925; This track could have fit perfectly on Bruce Springsteen’s Devils & Dust.
Calling Morning You Wake a country-pop record would be an injustice as every track tackles the country genre from a different point of view and like MacDonald’s life-worn poetry they take you on a journey….you just have to give it some time. (Independent)