Ian McArthur - Thirteen
A belief system or even a concept, to be adhered, must be unrepentantly diverse. This is how the universe is seen and that is how this CD can be described. The cover makes one think of Native American or ancient hieroglyphics. There is a well thought out organic feeling to this package and within the music it holds.
There are offerings of Latin rhythms, Rock, Jazz, finely strung Instrumentals and Easy Listening all wrapped up in a fertile bed of Blues. Bravo to those gifted ones who can express themselves through such accomplished and diverse musicality.
Musicianship is only part, for Ian McArthur is also the owner of Mac Alley Studios in Alberta Canada and founding partner of Dig-It-All Records, an Edmonton Indie record label. He is a songwriter/producer, guitarist and talented ear, who fulfilled a personal dream with the production of this polished and well mastered and thus very well re-mastered personal offering.
Music, lyrics and almost all the guitar works are his. The exception is ‘Rock My Way’. The lyrics for this song were written long ago by his brother Androo, who also lends his voice to this and a few other tracks. Ian does not sing any leads on this CD but with all the talented voices, he obviously has to choose from, we get to hear some great match-ups between genres and musical artists.
Some tracks are brilliant and the rest are worth every second spent. This is a good CD. Downloading is going to cater to those with specific tastes, so you can grab your choice but the CD, as a whole, is an accomplished statement. This fine Sir is not trying to make a go of it but is finally giving us a taste of his own world. Diversity strikes hard to the core and hopefully he will produce even another box of chocolates for us in the future.
From the bluesy jazz number ‘How Cool Is That’, with its smooth vocal delivery, to the ZZ Top flavored ‘Rock My Way’; these musical gifts are original and pleasing to the ear. Many artists’ influences come to mind, when enjoying this broad spread of eclectic feast.
The late great SRV and Lonnie Mack are brought to mind in ‘Messin’ Round’. This is clearly a songwriter and guitarist of accomplished years. With the heart of Carlos Santana this album reaches cross town and touches every nuance of the Latin electronic phrase on the track ‘Latin Dancer’. If you like a gospel blues influence, listen to ‘Say You Don’t Love Me’ or just relax and enjoy ‘A Prayer’. This is a journeyman, no, a master who grouped his troops to render something special.
Musical gears are plentiful here and used with taste and a sense of satisfaction.
There are some polished gems here and with the nice mix of male and female vocals, different rhythm sections and refusal to be stuck in one type, many are going to find some good listening.
We keep mostly head down and trudge forward with crazed and dazed diligence that discerns opportunity and forward focus found. I feel Ian keeps his head up and clearly finds all the attributes and inspiration he needs from loved ones and from an accomplished inner peace.
The final track is a nicely spoken original affirmation of life and an acceptance of ‘what will be, will be’ and just so happens to be the thirteenth number.
One more thing we thought should be pointed out about this artist is the fact that his year round message to all, regarding his music, is ‘if you like it, please donate to the Food Bank. If you don’t like it, Please donate to the Food Bank’. Given the time of year, I find this message most poignant and wonder why I don’t carry this spirit better throughout the rest of the year.
This is a disk that will always be in my collection. Thank goodness for dreams coming true.