CLOSER TO THE FLAME
I guess Winnipeg is the place for WCMA pop this year with Joel Kroeker, also a Manitoba capital native up for the pop award.
Closer to the Flame is Kroeker's third album, so you would expect a level of maturity here, and this CD might best be described as solid. It may not be the upper echelon of the genre, but you can see while Kroeker has been able to carve out a three-CD career so far.
I find this a CD that I would most easily recognize as pop among the nominees reviewed here, although I do understand how all four ended up in the category.
This is a generally upbeat effort, with a lot of toe-tapping cuts, including the title cut.
Kroeker does give his fans a meaty CD here with 13 songs, including the bonus track Deja Vu, all the songs under his own pen as well (that seems a near requisite here to write your own material).
As I was writing this set of reviews, I figured after listening through the efforts of Monica Schroeder and Sheena Grobb back-to-back, I would lean toward this CD more just because it offered up a different voice which might influence the score. However, while solid, I'm afraid I just can't get into what Kroeker is doing here to the same degree as the gals above.
It's not that Kroeker misses here with songs like The Good Stuff, Hymn Number One, Nothing But The Stars being the best of the bunch. Everything is done well enough, from the lilting instrumentation, to Kroeker's own soft-male voice, but it never all came together to carry me to a higher score.
As I said solid enough work here, but not enough to particularly excite me. You can check it out at http://www.joelkroeker.com/
-- CALVIN DANIELS
-- Reviews first appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper Oct. 17, 2007 - Yorkton, SK. Canada