FIELD GUIDE TO LONELINESS
Ben Sures is a folk singer, one that offers up the traditional, and the unusual, all in one package.
He starts Field Guide to Loneliness with the beautiful piece Dancer, a song that is purely folk, and purely good.
Then Sures shifts gears and offers up Used to Have a Raygun, a song that has an interesting message wrapped up in quirky and weird lyrics.
Now some will like the rather massive gear shift, like going from bull low on a logging truck, to fifth gear in a Porsche in one move, but for me, it's a bit too huge a change.
Sures, a veteran of the Canadian folk scene can probably get away with it based on his reputation, which included a Live album in 2001, and Goodbye Pretty Girl in 2003, but I'd like to see him stick to purer roots stylings, which I think stylistically suit Sures better.
That said you can see Sures wants to push the boundaries. He longs to explore the genre. For example, Bachelors has a sort of Mexican ballad musical undertone, and again cutting edge lyrics that are quirky. It does make the listener pay attention.
The CD has some very nice instrumentation. Sures handles the guitar with skill. His voice is clear.
The make or break point for listeners will be the lyrics. Does Sures push things too far? That is something each listener will decide, but for me, it generally doesn't work for me.
That said, there are some songs I like here, including the aforementioned Dancer, and Not On The Town, a song which highlights guest vocalist Little Miss Higgins, an excellent blues singer from Saskatchewan whose solo CD has been reviewed here previously.
You can check him out at www.bensures.com
-- CALVIN DANIELS
-- Review first appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper Jan.21, 2009 - Yorkton, SK. Canada