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Thursday, May 7, 2009

Review: Gerry Wall - Winter Grass / Ex Patriot's Day

Gerry Wall – Winter Grass/Ex Patriot’s Day
2006/2007, Catfish Rapids Music

Gerry Wall is a prairie boy who made good. The Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada native eventually made his way to Toronto, squandering top-notch foosball skills on the way to a doctorate degree, but found his calling making music. A chance childhood encounter with Joni Mitchell aside, Wall falls into the school of songwriting sometimes inhabited by folks such as Jackson Browne, Josh Rouse, Bob Dylan and even, yes, Joni Mitchell. Today we’ll be checking out two of Wall’s albums, Winter Grass and Ex Patriot’s Day.

Winter Grass opens with the title track, a plaintive country rocker with shades of Blue Rodeo woven in. Willow Bluff has a minimalist blues element to it. It's a fun song about the impact of priorities on relationships. Light The Match has this wonderfully dark, seedy quality to it that gets into your brain. Lyrically the song doesn't stadn out, but the arrangement and construction of the song is brilliant. Poor Man’s Train is particularly memorable with its period vocal style and insistent blues feel.

Ex Patriot's Day opens with Cheticamp, a sort of declaration of independence set against the backdrop of quaint fishing village on the Western edge of Cape Breton. The song is wonderfully tuneful and very well constructed. Ex Patriot's Day deals with the joy of living in a place like New York City while still missing home. Wall's songwriting has a strong Country/Americana feel that is undeniably smooth. Hello Amsterdam is an upbeat Country/Rocker that sounds like perhaps Jackson Browne and Bruce Hornsby jamming together. This highly commercial song has real chart potential and is one of the most pleasant listens on the disc. Home By Sunday takes a bit of a jazz turn (a la K.D. Lang) in a very tight arrangement that accents Wall's voice perfectly. Are You Making Any Friends? keeps the jazz vibe going with an 1970's AM radio feel. Other highlights include Lost At Home, Willow Bluff V2 and Tiny Letters.

Gerry Wall sets an example on Wintergrass, while on Ex Patriot's Day he lives it. Both albums show strong songwriting and a promising musical touch. Ex Patriots Day finds the artist a year old than on Wintergrass; By the time Ex Patriots Day rolled around, Wall had grown as a songwriter from above average to excellent.


Wintergrass – 3 Stars (Out of 5)
Ex Patriots Day – 4 Stars (Out of 5)

You can learn more about Gerry Wall at You can purchase a copy of Winter Grass at Ex Patriot’s Day can be purchase at Both albums can be purchased as downloads through iTunes.

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