Modern folk troubadour Derek Harrison has released his second solo album—one that might bring up some particular sights (and feelings) for some Torontonians, even if Harrison has already moved out of the neighbourhood and city that gave the album its name.
Blossington is, not unexpectedly, an album about places—especially all the ones Harrison has left behind as he’s travelled from his hometown of Harrow, Ontario to Melbourne and back again. The one-time Toronto resident has now moved almost 1,700 kilometres away to set up a new base in Fort Frances, adding another layer of leaving to an album full of departures, but rooted to one place. It was a summer at the corner of Bloor and Ossington that shaped how Blossington came out. Some of that heat can be felt through Harrison’s storytelling and fingerpicking as he charts what brought him to that corner, and hints at what led him away.
From the first track, “A Fool is a Fool,” Harrison shows his folk roots as he tells tale after tale—although “I Am a Coward” may be his best example as he lays bares a number of his faults while charting a miserable break up. Some hearty notes on a lap steel guitar add a self-deprecating country finish to the confessional, and take off some of the edge.
“Sight from Sound” maps Harrison’s wandering feet, but it’s “The Places I Have Lost” that makes the journey resonate. Moving past Harrison’s reasons for leaving to explore what it means to have left—and how it feels to discover that places go on changing even after we’re gone—the song captures the doubt of leaving and the wondering about everything that might have been.
The instrumental “Shelter Valley” that comes just before marks a turn from the album’s jaunty start—one that feels like maybe one day Harrison might hang up his roving shoes and try to find a place to keep. Although, as Blossington proves, the roads have already given him plenty.
Top Tracks: “A Fool is a Fool”; “The Places I Have Lost”
Rating: Strong Hoot (Good)