Wednesday, July 2, 2008
CD Review: Michael Marton - Once Alive
Michael Marton - Once Alive
2007, Michael Marton
For the initiated, the Canadian Rock scene has long included a tremendously varied array of sounds and styles, owing to the efforts that Canada has put into encouraging the independence and diversity of its musicians and musical styles. Consequently artists have come onto the world scene from Canada that may have not had the chance for similar exposure if they had originated in the stale corporate music culture of the United States. Unfortunately some of this has started to change in recent years as major record labels have made more inroads into Canadian Culture and found ways to subvert things such as the Canadian Content Rule. Nevertheless, there continues to be a diversity of sound and style in Canadian Musical Culture that is absent (or at least much harder to find south of the 54-40 (the line, AND the band).
I bring this up because it's time to take a look (listen) to Michael Marton, whom I believe is one of the unique products of a musical environment that Canada has worked hard to foster and maintain. Michael Marton is a singer-songwriter in the tradition of Bruce Cockburn, who is one of the singular legends in the Pantheon of Canadian popular music. Like Cockburn, Marton mixes in politics and real life experience into rock songs that are both thoughtful and fun. On his debut CD, Once Alive, Michael Marton has offered up his world view and muse. It is a worthy and fantastic effort.
Opening with the jangly guitars of Off To War, Marton lays out the justification for every war, petty or great, that mankind has fought. Off To War is a great rock song with a compelling message, and is the ideal start to this set. Once Alive is a lilting rocker with just a bit of country or prairie air to it. This is perhaps the finest song on the set, but I'll let you judge. Other highlights include Blinded, with its jazzy piano runs, and Attention. Attention is probably the most radio-ready song on Once Alive, and should find comfortable placement among the Adult Contemporary set.
Also be sure to check out Baby Don't Cry and I Won't Go as songs of interest. Michael Marton writes dynamic rock and roll songs. The musicianship here is top notch, and Marton's quirky voice juxtaposes a sense of sincerity and reality onto the songs offered here. I give Once Alive a strong recommendation to my readers as a fine example of the singer-songwriter craft and of how it is still relevant and real when done right.
Rating: 4 Stars (Out of 5)
You can learn more about Michael Marton at www.michaelmarton.ca, where you can purchase a copy of Once Alive. You may also purchase the album as a download through either PureTracks or iTunes.