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Various-The Heart of Alberta

heart-of-alberta-coverBand Name: Various
Album Name: The Heart of Alberta: Folk, Country, Acoustic
Best Element: “For All Time” by the Allen Christie Band
Genre: Folk/Country/Acoustic/Modern Rock?/Hip-hop?
Label Name: Cyclone Records
Band E-mail:info’

This comp is labeled as folk, country, acoustic, and while that’s mostly correct, there are some very odd choices on this record that don’t fall into any of those three categories. For example, Kreshia Turner’s “Unnecessary Complications” is a hip-hop song. I am not kidding you- it’s a hip-hop song masquerading on a folk/country/acoustic album. It is based in an acoustic groove, but still- it threw me off. The Evanescence-like modern rock of Christa Haberstock’s “Necessary” and Jenae’s “A Flower” are also odd choices for this album.

But there are some nuggets of goodness on this album. Both of Hillbilly Dust’s blue-grass tinged acoustic-based songs are highlights, as well as Judith Lam’s forlorn “Prairie Skies”. “Don’t Call” by the James Murdoch Band features some great vocals and good songwriting in the verses, although the chorus is a little bit too formulaic for my taste. My favorite track here is “For All Time” by the Allen Christie Band, a bluegrass/pop fusion. It would fit radio well, and it’s a good song to drive to.

In fact, all of the songs on this comp would be perfect for radio- they all have a certain production sheen that makes them perfect for that medium. Some people would find this to be a turn-off, as some of the soul is lost from certain tracks in the transition. But the best tracks survive the transition well, making them definitively the best.

This comp is a pretty average affair- there are some genuinely good tracks, and some not-so-great tracks. If this were all folk/country/acoustic, it would be much better than it is- the tracks that didn’t fit really threw off the flow of this album.

-Stephen Carradini