Thursday, November 12, 2015
Spirit Child (Vancouver Sun's Album of the Week)
(Light In The Attic)
4 out of 5 stars
The Native North America Vol. 1 compilation released by Light In The Attic in 2014 was a masterpiece of archival work by Vancouver DJ Kevin “Sipreano” Howes. It remains a must-own collection of aboriginal folk, rock and psych music that would have likely been lost otherwise, and it made music fans rediscover some amazing talent, including B.C. folk-rocker Willie Thrasher.
Thrasher is the first of the artists on the NNA lineup to get a proper solo reissue. Spirit Child was Thrasher’s 1981 debut as a solo artist. Formerly of Inuit rock band The Cordells, Thrasher culled his inspiration from Creedence Clearwater Revival and Neil Young, which are the most obvious points of reference on Spirit Child.
The songs are ramshackle, bruised and vital, driven by Thrasher’s acoustic guitar and wobbly vocals. The gripping Forefathers has Thrasher singing about his Inuit land, “where we don’t need no oil or gold.” It’s a soulful ode to nature. On Wolves Don’t Live By The Rules, Thrasher channels his inner Steppenwolf for a rollicking song about freedom.
The album is populated by a colourful cast of characters (Eskimo Named Johnny, Old Man Carver, and Old Man Inuit, where the titular old man speaks the lyrics in his native tongue) and places (Shingle Point Whale Camp). The stunning Beautiful is a classic country tune with pedal steel guitar, where Thrasher praises the beauty of the land that surrounds him. It’s the simplest statement, but it evokes enormous emotions.
Again, the reissuing work by Howes and Light In The Attic is top notch, replicating the original album cover (complete with the logo of the CBC, which served as recording facilities for Thrasher) and adding the colours and design work of the NNA box set.
It’s a nice touch and a great complement to a collection that can only keep growing.
Willie Thrasher plays The Lido Nov. 18.
Re-posted from the Vancouver Sun