Ian Foster, The Evening Light
Singer-songwriter Ian Foster’s fifth album, The Evening Light, is an effortless collection of urban romance that instantly grabs your attention with memorable arrangements, beautiful production and poignant storytelling.
Opening ballad “Sparrow” begins with “Trying to dream it up again/put the pieces back where they should have been”; a perfect beginning that reflects on a time when a “renegade melody that become a part of me” was part of the process of becoming a musician. The track is strangely comforting with Foster’s quiet plucking and confident voice. “Deep Dark Night” follows “Sparrow” and quickly turns majestic with grandiose production, swirls of banjo, powerful piano hits and Celtic drumming intertwined with soft string moments. Stylistically, it reminded me of Spirit of The West with its uplifting chorus and overall feel.
About midway through, Foster surprises by pulling out a smooth radio-blues number called “The First Day” that gives this record some depth beyond folk. But….it also leads to my three favourite tracks; The roots flavoured jig “Two Fires”, the Francophone soul “Hochelaga, Montreal” and “A Large Crowd Gathers for the Deceased Jeff Elliot’s Encore Performance”. The above mentioned track is a variation of a short story written by Foster, where a performer comes ‘back to life’ for one last performance – storytelling at its finest!
Of course, all nights must come to an end and Evening Light has an especially heartbreaking one in “Foot of the Stairs”; a skeletal piano structure that has Foster singing, “This city makes me complicated, sorta sad, It’s like a lover I wished I had, I used to flirt with her in my younger days, but I wanted her to be the one that got away”.
Brilliant songwriting, easy to love songs and excellent performances from Foster and his crew make Evening Light one of Canada’s best kept secrets of 2011. (Independent)