Stu Porteous, The Great Métis Nation
Manitoban Country singer Stu Porteous’ latest album, The Great Métis Nation, is a fine collection of original country songs that speaks directly from the heart. Porteous takes on many different issues from the state of the Métis Nation, its people and even his own personal demons; the album has a somber tone with many glimpses of hope and humour.
The opening title track is one of those visions of hope that celebrates the growing Nation over a light-hearted country beat and Porteous’ road-worn vocals. “The Gazette” follows up with some sweet country twang that focuses on a Dear Abby reader that finds his ex-lover asking Abby about leaving him….which she did the night before!
“He’ll Never Change” is the album’s most powerful song, painting the picture of poverty in realistic terms with some beautiful lap-steel work which gives the arrangement a wandering vibe. My personal favourite is “Family History” where Porteous sings about his father and his pride in his families history, the track also has this really great 70’s feel that brings to mind The Band’s co-operative harmonies and drive.
There are a few weak spots though, overall I find that the music over powers Porteous vocals – I don’t think it is an issue with his voice but more with the mixing process. Perfect example is on “Scars” where I had to put on headphones to really discover what he was singing about.
Also, right in the middle of the record sits first single “She’s Ready To Party” – a song that carries no lyrical weight when you consider what preludes it. The album also ends with a thud on the left over track “Super Hero’s Friend”; which should of been set out to pasture especially when second to last track “Who’s Going To Leave First” is a high-energy grass-roots jig.
Putting originality aside – I really enjoyed The Great Métis Nation – Porteous is a smart songwriter with a whole lot of prairie soul that goes beyond what is considered cool.
Rating: 3/5 Stars