Angel Air 2016
Veteran singer-songwriter delivers a heartfelt paean to his homeland – and his life.
Forty years down the line from "No Charge" that scored a top position in British charts, Barry Authors is still going strong and, at 83, is in top vocal form. Such youthfulness a common denominator for both the artist and Canada – celebrating its 150th anniversary in 2017 – may be a key to this album whose very title implies a personal outlook on the world rather than a patriot’s pathos. Yet it will take the listener a journey to the record’s end, where the title track and “At My Age” reside, to truly appreciate J.J.’s sentiment, because in aural terms the 17 songs on display hark back to Barrie’s heyday and sport lush retro sound suggesting life’s been good to him.
With a nostalgic relocation of “Streets Of London” to Ontario, the veteran lays out his onlooker’s cool from the beginning, but the harpsichord-spiked “Call My Name” would also mark the spot where he reaches out to others in the light of a jingle-jangle morning; that’s why “I Can’t Sing Our Love Song” and “I Just Fall In Love Again” are two touching aspects of the same message – respectively, a slab of country-tinctured effervescent teasing and a delicately orchestrated torch song. Switching to spoken word, an echo of his hit single, to spice up “Two Guys Who Liked To Sing” – dedicated to Sinatra and Crosby – and “Our First Goodnight” which has their croon at its heart, J.J. makes the covers of “A Pirate Looks At Forty” and “Forty & Fadin’” a playful part of his own timeline, too, the four-decade spell reigning over Barrie’s current creativity. There’s timeless quality to his songs, anchored to Canada with a link that’s bound to stay unbroken: that’s what it’s all about for this artist.