Music Review – North Easton

Musician: North Easton
Album: One of the Lucky Ones

Canadian music legend, North Easton, is gearing up for the release of his debut solo album, One of the Lucky Ones, on October 15th. For fans of Dave Matthews, Phil Collins, Counting Crows, and Cat Stevens, North’s album should not be missed. Full of folk-rock and country sounds, North’s music is progressive, lighthearted, and meaningful. However, his lyrics are down-to-earth, and his melodies soft and inspired.

Originally from Vancouver Island, this incredibly accomplished musician now lives in Rockland, Ontario. North is most known for his work with the bands Garrity and My Favourite Tragedy. His past work has been recognized with many awards including Indie Album of the year 2001 and the Song of the Year.com’s 2013 Winner in the Country Category, “Stuck on the Stairs.” North was also “a finalist in the 2015 International Songwriting Competition” (http://www.northeaston.ca) for his song “Love Like That,” which is on this album.

North has played with Great Big Sea, 54-40, I Mother Earth, and has performed on TV shows like Canada A.M., Breakfast Television, Rogers Daytime and The Mike Bullard Show. His track, “Texting Song”, was also featured in Twentieth Century Fox’s Animated Hit Series, American Dad. In addition to all of these accomplishments, North Easton is the owner of Rockland Music, a place where aspiring musicians can learn to write music, sing, or play the guitar or piano. And he is also the Regional Coordinator of the Songwriters Association of Canada, Ottawa Chapter (http://www.rbtne.com).

Three of the songs on One of the Lucky Ones, “Love Like That,” “Live My Life,” and “My Way Home”, were co-written with well known Canadian singer/songwriter Rosanne Baker Thornley. The title track of the album “One Of The Lucky Ones” is inspired by Jonathan Pitre and Jeff Scott. About these people and the inspiration behind the track, North said “after meeting incredible people like Jonathan Pitre (the butterfly child) and Jeff Scott (quadriplegic and founder of the Live It Love It Foundation) and hearing them speak about life and how great it can be, well, if you listen to your heart, if you look at the road you are on, you will probably see that you are also one of the lucky ones” (http://skylarentertainment.ca/newsroom/north-easton-cd/).

“Change” is the single from One of the Lucky Ones, and was produced by Jay Lefebvre. “Change” is a song that marks the recent life changes that North made, especially in regard to the create of his debut album. The video for the track is a detailed story and, at times, humorous. Shot in Ottawa and the Thousand Islands, North directed the video, along with Karim Ayari who also did the editing. Check out the video here.

On the album, North also deviated from the typical guitar sound of the folk genre, adding other instruments to some songs to enhance their musical impact. The track “Life” features a live recording of a grand piano, and “One More For The Road” includes the violin and upright bass. This means that the album is full of songs that can be listened to from start to end or individually. However, by listening to the tracks consecutively, North’s message and philosophy about life can be fully appreciated.

Fans of the folk genre will appreciate the laid-back guitar and steady earthy drum beats that flow throughout the album. For example, the track ?Unstoppable? is an upbeat song with inspiring lyrics about personal strength and hard work. There is a twangy country feel to the song, especially in the lyrics, but for those who aren’t fond of country music, ?Unstoppable? still holds some charms.

Then there is the quirky ?When the Night is Young.? The tones are joyous and the feel of the track is one of apprehensive excitement, much like that of a new love. The beat is steady and fun, and listeners will probably find themselves clapping along and swaying to the infectious rhythm.

The final track that I’ll mention is the lulling love ballad ?Here Tonight.? The song is slower than the others, romantic, and simply beautiful. The slowly crescendoing string accompaniment adds layers to this complex song, but it never overpowers North’s soft vocals. The sporadic piano playing in the background adds another interesting layer that helps to end the song on a dramatic note, rather than the soft tones and melodies fading away after the final verse.

The album release party is scheduled for October 15th at Saint Brigids Centre for the Arts in Ottawa. Then on October 20th, North will begin his fall tour across Canada. Dates and locations can be found on his website.

Samantha currently uses her skills as a writer to promote independent musicians and raise awareness and support for many global, environmental, and humanitarian issues. Check out her website and blog at: http://sstevenswriter.wix.com/writer

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