reviewed by Chris Matei
In the day and age of retrofolkturist-revivalist bands a la Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros and countless others shaking their tambourines across the festival circuit, it’s refreshing to hear a God-honest country EP, one affixed with drawling cadences, plaintive harmonica riffs, shimmery slide guitar and tales of lost lovers and old flames rekindled. In short, it is here that we find Toronto’s Timothy Ryan and his debut EP Dog Days.
This is Toronto by way of a seriously earnest dose of Nashville charm, especially on the middle frame track “Love Ain’t Enough,” which hits a warm, lilting stride backed by stick-and-hat rhythms and soft, interlocking guitars. Tim Kuras’ vocals are clear and front-positioned, and could stand to be mixed a little more into the mesh of the song, but it’s a smooth, classic country ballad. “Same Ol’ Blues” is a rollicking blues-country burner, again playing right into a set of amicable genre signposts if not necessarily reinventing them.
“Night Drives” goes exactly the opposite direction as far as tone, the slide passages shifting from warm and inviting to plaintive and haunting as the song recounts a troubled and touchingly personal narrative set out on its titular dark, open road. It’s this personality that makes the closing cut my favourite among this short selection.
For those longing to relive a night spent in twangy repose at one of Toronto’s dimly lit and comfortable locales – probably the Dakota Tavern – Timothy Ryan might be just the thing.
Top Track: “Night Drives”
Rating: Strong Hoot (Good)