Venerated Canadian winemaker finds an eternal source of heady delights and invites good company to share a cup with.
It’s a pattern to warrant an artist’s longevity, to release a solo record every twenty years. Myles Goodwyn, the linchpin of APRIL WINE, veered away from the band for the first time back in 1988 with a self-titled album as though to mark his 50th anniversary, yet if fans expected its follow-up to offer more maturity, the guitarist is happy to prove them wrong. Perhaps, “happy” wouldn’t be the best word to go with the blues, but at this day and age Goodwyn doesn’t care as he lets his hair down and has a good time with his buddies, welcoming everyone to join in the fun. Which must be a sign of a true master for whom effortlessness is part of the art.
So where a frown and hard feelings are required, with regards to Myles’ chosen genre, it’s there – to hide his smile on a brass-smeared, boogie-driven opener “I Hate To See You Go (But I Love To Watch You Walk Away)” and the unhurried, albeit dynamically impressive, “I’ll Hate You (Till Death Do Us Part)” that features one of the titular friends, Frank Marino, laying a line of licks alongside the main man’s chops. Goodwyn’s humor is just as prominent on the infectiously insistent “Ain’t Gonna Bath In The Kitchen Anymore” and “Tell Me Where I’ve Been (So I Don’t Go There Anymore)” – the former given an ivories wigout by Bill Stevenson and the latter sprinkled with Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne’s piano. The lounge-like transparent twang on “It’ll Take Time To Get Use To” and the hypnotic groove and sexy texture behind “Isn’t That So” – the only cover on display, penned by Jesse Winchester – allow Myles to bring the velvet verve of his vocal approach and playing to the fore, but the heavier riffs carrying “Good Man In A Bad Place” reveal the veteran’s undimmed dexterity and his talent of setting a fretboard on fire.
With David Wilcox’s acoustic chiming on a delicate “Willow Tree Blues” and Steve Segal’s slider rolling over the boisterous “Brand New Cardboard Belt” to reflect both sides of Myles’ today’s agenda, Rick Derringer’s presence and female backing on “Last Time I’ll Ever Sing The Blues” not only pump blood in its veins, but also add drama to the piece’s message. It’s inescapable, of course, and the aural gloss of “Nobody Lies (About Having The Blues)” can’t conceal the artist’s jazzy-tinged, filigree worry, yet the harmonica-abetted “You Never Got The Best Of Me” has hope written all over its ripple. Perhaps, we’ll get the gist of Goodwyn in two decades’ time and he’ll admit that’s his best work; as of now, this album is an honorable placeholder.