When I was living and going to school in Peterborough last year, I went to handful of shows at numerous venues across the city. Nick Ferrio opened for every single act I saw. I thereby took two things away from living there: 1) a degree and 2) I learned that Nick Ferrio is king.
Although from a titular perspective, Ferrio leaves behind his Feelings (he used to perform under the band name Nick Ferrio and his Feelings), his new album Amongst the Coyotes and Birdsongs is jam packed with them. Joined by an all-star cast of folksters – Evening Hymns (Jonas Bonnetta and Sylvie Smith), Julie Doiron, Gavin Gardiner (The Wooden Sky), Steve Lambke, and Tamara Lindeman – Ferrio et. al singing about love is magic.
“Hide My Love” is a sweet and steady opener, heightened by Lindeman’s vocal contributions, and sets the tone for the confessionary album. Fittingly, the lead single “Come Hell or High Water” is an emotional plea to save a relationship. “I’ve been waiting so long for you to come along,” croons Ferrio in this standout.
Another favourite of mine after first hearing it live, “Mirror Ball Shine” is a sparse folk song that has a hell of a catchy melody. Paired with a pedal steel and beautiful backing vocals provided by Doiron, it’s one of my favourite songs of the year. Ferrio and Doiron dreamily team up again in “Hang Man,” putting a new twist on a traditional song.
Although Amongst the Coyotes and Birdsongs is much less country than previous offerings from Ferrio, it’s not without some country flair-ups. The rural title track is a fine example of Ferrio’s return to his country roots (yes, thank in part to the pedal steel from Matt Monoogian) and gives a nice showing of Ferrio’s hearty lower register.
“Back in Town” is a saddening and sparse closer. In an emotional ballad, Ferrio sings, “don’t leave me much to believe in now that all that’s good is gone.” A quiet tune that perfectly caps off the emotional journey of the record.
Amongst the Coyotes and Birdsongs shows us that Nick Ferrio won’t be giving up his reign anytime soon.
Top Tracks: “Come Hell or High Water,” “Mirror Ball Shine”
Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good)