New Release: Kent McAlister & the Iron Choir - The Way It Rolls
Canada’s tradition of good country music is firmly rooted in the prairies of Alberta. From these roots has sprouted a more contemporary branch of Americana that has a fresh vibrancy while still paying homage to the pioneers that defined the genre.
Kent McAlister may have relocated from his dusty Alberta roots for the ocean-side energy of coastal British Columbia, but he hasn’t forgotten his roots. Along McAlister’s journey he has gained a proficiency in everything from jazz to post-modern rock, but these later influences were seamlessly blended with his deep country roots rather than replacing them.
When Kent McAlister & the Iron Choir’s new release, The Way it Rolls first arrived at the Bus I opened it with a bit of anticipation. For some reason, I find that some of the best Americana music comes from outside the borders of the U.S. and the first few bars of the first cut “Circumstantial Dues” only strengthened that theory.
McAlister’s expressive baritone voice has the warm, comfortable sound of a folk singer, at times gentle and inviting and at others powerful and convincing. The music on The Way it Rolls is just as varied starting with the Bakersfield-inspired “Circumstantial Dues”, the mariachi sound of “Old Bandolier” (including a burst of Spanish style horns), to a cover of legendary songwriter Leonard Cohen’s “Hey That’s No Way To Say Goodbye”, and the mysterious folk/jazz of “A Twisted Wire” complete with other-worldly echoing guitar. “All That You Know” is a country/folk lament of parting lovers with an acoustic guitar rhythm tastefully accented with pedal steel guitar and touches of swirling strings. The CD shifts gears again with the title song, “The Way It Rolls”, kicking off with a guitar riff that could have come straight off a classic country album from the ‘60s. Changing gears yet again, “Ballad of the Jaded Wagoneer” is an all acoustic, dusty trail cowboy song of an alcoholic that has fallen off the wagon. The CD finishes strong with “It Counts For Something”. Nashville could take a few tips from this song that smoothly combines a country theme with country-rock and jazz instrumentation, pop hooks, and folk sensibility.
The Way it Rolls left me wanting more, not because it lacked anything, rather because it is such a diverse treat. This second release from Kent McAlister & the Iron Choir is packed to the brim with superb, emotion-filled songwriting, excellent arrangements, and outstanding musicianship.
Kent McAlister & The Iron Choir - "The Way it Rolls" was due to be released October 23rd but a quick search of the regular outlets does not show any listings yet, at least in the U.S.
I would recommend checking McAlister’s MySpace page or website (website still under construction also) to watch for a release date.
"The Way it Rolls" is worth the wait.
Kent McAlister & The Iron Choir - "The Way it Rolls"