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Private Label ALCD005 

I reviewed Canada (Ontario)-based Allison’s previous album, Half My Heart, back in autumn 2014, and its successor, though a long time in coming, proves worth the wait. It’s a delicious mixture of folk, bluegrass and country, on which Allison’s own singing and flute playing are augmented with the musicianship of a neat little band that includes Andrew Collins (mandolin), Tony McManus (guitar), Shane Cook (fiddle), Joseph Phillips (bass) and Ivan Rosenberg (dobro).

Six of the album’s ten cuts are Allison’s own compositions. These are mostly couched in a thoroughly appealing contemporary bluegrass idiom, highlights being the abundantly catchy title song and the authentically breakdown-styled What Will I Dream. Dusty Boots tells of Allison’s paternal grandfather, a thresher in the late 1920s, while I Will Rise was inspired by “the strength and courage of our loved ones”. Disc closer, the Grand River Waltz, is a delicate instrumental penned by Allison herself.

Pick of the album’s non-originals is Lost Jimmy Whelan, a traditional Canadian log-driver ballad with a kinship to The Unquiet Grave, where Allison enjoys guest contributions from Jess and Richard Arrowsmith. She then delivers an edgily syncopated (and unexpectedly quite up-tempo) account of Poverty Knock. The track list is completed by When First I Went To Caledonia and, midway through the disc, an Ontario Tune Set, on which Allison’s flute playing (and Shane’s feet) get the chance to shine.

Words Of Love is a worthy follow-up to Allison’s three previous albums – it could just do with being longer than 35 minutes!

David Kidman


This review appeared in Issue 131 of The Living Tradition magazine