Maria Dunn

MARIA DUNN - We Were Good People
Distant Whisper Music 2004 MARCD03

Singer-songwriter Maria Dunn was born in Scotland and raised in Canada, and this collection captures the results of her research into the social struggles of Canada ’s working classes whilst she was employed as artist-in-residence by Edmonton District Labour Council. These are storytelling songs, and the music is bluegrass/country/folk crossover with a Celtic touch. However, I found myself more interested in the historical content of the songs than I was by the songs themselves. Dunn’s voice is pleasing, the songwriting and production are strong, but the vocal delivery and instrumental feel is predominantly ‘country’ and may not appeal if you don’t enjoy country music.

Notwithstanding, the album offers a fascinating glimpse into Alberta ’s history; the story behind every song is provided. Dunn’s songs have a timeless feel; you feel that her tales of the Hillcrest Mine explosion of 1914, or the Edmonton Hunger March of 1932 could have been written years ago, not at the beginning of this century. Elsewhere, she details the union member’s struggle against the employer, the plight of the black pioneers who found freedom in Canada , the fight for suffrage, and more. These are inspiring tales of optimism, strength and courage in adversity.

Debbie Koritsas