This is a CD that has actually grown on me a bit since it's first spin. After the first listen I wasn't particularly impressed, but as I delved into the effort a bit deeper, I have come to appreciate the lyrics more, and musically it may not have any edge to it, but it suits here.
Smokekiller is really John Antoniuk, who is then supported by a back-up band. Yes a little confusing to say the least.
The band includes vocalist and guitar player Josh Palmer, who fans of Canadian Idol will recall, as the Saskatchewan singer who made a run for the big prize a couple of years back. That alone gives the band some PR creditability. The band also includes bassist Jeremy Lane and drummer Brian Hankewich.
However, lead vocals are actually provided by Smokekiller (aka John Antoniuk).
Another great Saskatchewan talent Jen Lane adds her vocals on occasion too, and while that doesn't make this CD particularly stronger, it is always interesting to see how the music community supports each other in helping round out a CD's sound.
OK, the line up is a tad confusing, but hey, in the end they work in putting together a really solid CD.
This CD has been around for a while, Palmer has a new one on the way, as does Antoniuk according to his myspace page, but fans of the show, and Saskatchewan talent might still want to search out this indie disk.
While Palmer may be the recognizable name here, this is really Antoniuk's work. He wrote all 12 songs, and lyrically this is pretty solid. I particularly liked War Song, Back Again, and Postcards.
It is to be hoped Smokekiller, or more importantly Jon Antoniuk heads back to the studio. This guy can write, and vocally he supports his songs well.
Definitely worth a listen. Check them out at www.smokekiller.com
-- CALVIN DANIELS
-- Reviews first appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper Aug. 15, 2007 - Yorkton, SK. Canada