HOWLIN' AT THE MOON
Can a guy that used to stop chunks of frozen rubber -- he was a hockey goaltender including a stint with the local Yorkton Terriers in the mid-1980s – become a successful country singer?
After a half dozen listens to Evan Westerlund's Howlin' At The Moon, three of those back-to-back, I'd have to say yes, and that's yes in a big way.
This is as solid a debut in terms of country music that has come across my desk since the Black Coffee Cowboys ultra cool disk hit my player.
Westerlund has a storyteller's approach to writing, and a fine voice, and that's a pretty solid basis.
Now whether Westerlund will find commercial success is anybody's guess considering he now resides in Sweden, and in a recent interview he admitted that country isn't exactly a hotbed of country music radio.
However, back here in Westerlund's native country this CD should find airplay anytime a radio programmer actually takes time to listen to the disk.
Westerlund hits the ground running with the strong I Miss You, and follows that with the upbeat, catchy Lightning, and from there simply rolls through a very solid 12-song offering.
This is country that shows its roots in older style country, yet fits today's approach too. Westerlund seems able to skate the fine line between the pure country and today's brand of country, maybe a testament to those days in hockey skates.
When I first received an email about the project, I admit I wondered what might be coming from a guy stuck in far off Sweden, but Westerlund proves here you can write great country just about anywhere.
The top cuts, well that will be a matter of taste, but I really like Ghost Riders, a song reminiscent in style to Kenny Roger's Gambler, and Lightning has a chorus that will have people singing along in no time, and Top Down follows that same formula.
I Miss My Marie is a true heart-tugger that will stroke the heartstrings of listeners.
This one is a great CD, and country fans will want to make the effort to order this one online. Check it out at www.evanwesterlund.com
-- CALVIN DANIELS
-- Review first appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper Mar. 26, 2008 - Yorkton, SK. Canada