The Grit and Soul of Grant Lyle’s Latest Album ‘So There’

Lisa Waugh

Grant Lyle’s new record, So There , plays throughout my office on a Sunday morning. The camellia tree right outside my window seems to sense the Muddy Waters vibration and bounces along to the opening strains of “Impressions.”

There’s Joe Cocker meets the Black Keys tucked into a gentle soul. Lyle feels like one of the missing Allman Brothers. In this day and age of packaged perfection, it’s nice to have an old school rhythm and blues singer/songwriter with some grit in his voice to turn to.

Grant Lyle

You can appreciate the years that Lyle has put into his playing and song crafting. So There  is his seventh album. My biggest issue with the record is that most tracks seem to running at half speed. Lyle is soulful and skilled but the pace of the tunes plods along at times. I can help but wonder what would happen to the entire record if each song got a tempo treatment. I’m sure Lyle and the record’s producer might tell me to pound sand.

In any case, Lyle’s voice can be light (“From the Hills”) and then turn into smoke and fire on tracks such as the cover of Son House’s “Levee Moan.” He’s in quite wonderful form on “Walk On” as well.

At times, I feel like I’m listening to my old pal, John Hiatt. And then I get a little Don Dixon here and there. All this comparison might make Lyle crazy so I’ll stop. In the end, he’s got a presence all his own and clearly loves what he does.

The video for “You’re Killing Me” is downright confusing. Lyle’s performance is completely upstaged by what comes off as a random series of push/pull images from a bipolar person’s desktop. I would rather have had Lyle by himself seated or standing in a simple environment, hotel room, couch, park bench even. I may have missed the message of the song.

I thought the track is about a crazy chick who has driven some poor man over the edge so the images of orangutans, rusted out cars, squirrels, raindrops, the moon and a jet on the runway (just to name a few) are rather perplexing. It’s too bad because the song is one of the better tracks on the record.

Visuals aside, Lyle is a busy man who graces many a popular stage throughout Canada and the U.S. He’s got no time for comparisons and isn’t slowing down for anyone, except those tracks I mentioned.

 

I’d Listen To:

Impressions

Librium

Walk On

You’re Killing Me

Listen So There on Soundcloud https://soundcloud.com/grant-lyle

 

Appearing on So There:

Grant Lyle https://www.facebook.com/pages/Grant-Lyle/193260200786986  – vocals, guitar

Musical Contributions By:

Al Cross

Iansanity

Roly Platt

Pat Dickinson

Scott Brammer

Leopold

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