In Stephen Leacock’s Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town, Leacock tells stories from the fictional Canadian town, Mariposa. In his sequence of short stories, he celebrates everyday people and in doing so, is able to make their lives extraordinary.
Like Leacock, in his new record Sackville’s Pat LePoidevin tells his own tales from small town America, reminding us again that no matter the physical location, we are all connected by the deepest levels of human emotions. In an incredible journey across the United States, LePoidevin puts on a brilliant display of lyricism through the fictionalized events illustrated in his third record, American Fiction.
Genre-wise, American Fiction shows LePoidevin expanding his folk roots with arrangements that includes heavier pop-rock guitar sounds and a weighty percussion section. LePoidevin thus fills in the small cracks left by some of his previous material with a confident new voice as a musician and, evidentially, a story-teller.
From the mountain town of “Winter Park, CO” to the ghost town of “Centralia, PA,” American Fiction begins with a bang. As each song from the album does, LePoidevin provides snapshots of the respective towns by focusing on the lives of fictional characters. While “Winter Park, CO” is a fairly upbeat number – in terms of both music style and lyrics – “Centralia, PA” is simply haunting. Due to a mine fire burning beneath the town since 1962, it is more or less abandoned. To a drum’s thunderous downbeat, LePoidevin sings about a townsfolk for chilling results: “If all is wrong, let me rest, with the blood and bones from below. If all is wrong, let me rest, and allow them to solemnly flee.”
As we continue to travel along the vast country, a pit stop in “Caliente, CA” has LePoidevin illustrating a small town plagued by industrialization. Discover a sudden pop-rock sounding powerhouse in “Shelby, MT” or find some peace in the quiet acoustic sounds of “Hayden Lake, ID.”
In a flash of blurred highway lines and enough stories to fill a book, American Fiction has its final stop in “Twilight Park, NY.” Inspired by LePoidevin’s grandfather who managed a tennis club in Twilight Park, New York in the 1930s – Pat is actually putting on a tennis tournament in his honour across Canada during his American Fiction tour – “Twilight Park, NY” ushers you back home in style with a beautiful trumpet solo from Dylan Maddix.
Take a road trip across America with Pat LePoidevin’s American Fiction as your tour guide and you can do no wrong.
Top Tracks: “Winter Park, CO,” “Centralia, PA,” “Shelby, MT”
Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good) + *swoop*