Premiere: Ken Yates – “Huntsville”

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Huntsville, Ontario is a beautiful place to take a vacation, and London, Ontario’s Ken Yates decided to name his latest effort, out Sept. 30, after it. Just as the town is known for its natural beauty, Yates aims for the same kind of aesthetic musically. Huntsville, produced by Jim Bryson, is a gentle and emotionally resonant collection.

Over the album’s 11 songs, Yate’s expressive vocals and folk styling bring his ballads and road songs to life. Perhaps no song employs as many accurate metaphors for life on the road than the opener “Keep Your Head Down,” also one of the album’s highlights. It’s propulsive rhythm drives the song forward along with lines like “This highway’s one wrong turn from hell.” After that, things get softer, with songs like “High On You Under the Moon,” a song that juxtaposes satellites-as-ersatz-stars with a couple drunk on rye looking up at it all. “Roll Me on Home” promises, “I’ll be your rock if you’ll roll me on home.”

Near the end, Yates shows his energy’s not done yet, with the brightness of “The Best Part of Leaving,” a song that isn’t as sad as its title suggests. Finally, there’s “Leave Me the Light On,” another mellow song to tuck the album into bed. Hear the whole album below.

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