Corey Isenor is a storyteller. He has proven that throughout the years. But maybe this characterization of Isenor is wrong, maybe he’s not a storyteller. Maybe he’s a painter.
On A Painted Portrait (Of The Classic Ruse), Isenor sweeps broad strokes of rich hues: a blue plucked from the depths of the ocean (“The Navy Blues”), a depressed grey chipped off of a skyscraper (“From Towers to Windmills”), a brown sifted from the loam (“Forms of my Desire”). His narratives are timeless and bold, crafted with folk and country traditions in mind.
The “Queen of Calgary” wears a dollar store crown and, under her self-assuredness, is looking for love like everyone else. “Losing My Mind” captures how life can get so suffocating you turn to quick highs – “I’ve been running from the law but only with parking tickets,” sings Isenor – and long for a change of scenery. The aforementioned “The Navy Blues” could be played in a Halifax legion in the 50s. The classic country melody and Isenor’s sorrow make for an enduring number.
Even when Isenor’s words are absent, a vividness remains. The exchange between the flute, guitar, harmonica, and bongo in “Burning the Hickory” moves like the curling ghostly smoke of a fire and closer “The Dark Horse,” which begins after a static-filled search through the wireless, rambles along with a resonator and could be the soundtrack to a wild west program.
Simply put, A Painted Portrait (Of The Classic Ruse) is Isenor’s best work yet.
Top Tracks: “”Losing My Mind””; “The Navy Blues”
Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good)