David Francey’s new album showcases his extraordinary skill as a lyricist. His so-good-they-could-be-traditional melodies, and themes of the camaraderie of small-town life, the drudgery of the daily grind, the pride in an honest day’s work, the sadness of losing loved ones, the joy of close family connections, and the quiet strength of mature love have struck a chord with audiences around the world.
“Come Sunday” is a song about the tragic death of Tim Annesley, who played hockey with David on his Sunday night team in the Eastern Townships in the late ‘90s. It is both a touching account of the emptiness a community feels when one of its own is taken without warning and a celebration of small-town hockey culture – a topic David also feted on the Juno-winning Skating Rink.
“Blue Sorrow and Then Some” is a tribute to Hank Williams – inspired by a teenage memory of playing Hank’s “Greatest Hits” endlessly after salvaging the record from his aunt’s junk pile. Ivan Rosenberg’s dobro and John Showman’s sweet violin give the song a classic country flavor without departing from David’s trademark acoustic folk sound.
“Only Love”, featuring fiddle player James McKie, is the kind of song that stirs up good-natured envy in other songwriters, for few can take as common a muse as love, write verses comprised of little more than metaphors, and end up with a powerful, moving piece, totally free of clichés, about the only thing in life that really matters. It’s the sort of heartfelt song with a stick-in-your-head chorus that has won David fans in everyone from John-Angus MacDonald of the Trews to Ron MacLean of Hockey Night in Canada. Lyrics from “Only Love” lend themselves to the title of this album.
“I Know It Won’t” was written in a hotel room in Grande Prairie about the exasperation of an artist who has been on the road too long. It is the kind of song about working life on which David has built his reputation. Having long ago traded his tool belt for the touring life, David now brings the same rawness and sincerity to the realities of a working artist as he has to those of being a lake boat captain, a miner, or a farmer.
David recorded the songs with his long-time band-mates Mark Westberg (guitar), Chris Coole (banjo), and Darren McMullen (mandolin, etc.) at Coole’s family cabin on Belmont Lake, a rustic setting that gives the album its intimate sound. David’s delivery is soft, smooth and emotive, a beautiful, gentle timbre.
Available from Laker Music April 20th