Shawna Caspi – Hurricane is Coming
Independent – August 27, 2021
Fans of songs from open-hearted singer-songwriters and artists like Kathleen Edwards, Kelley McRae, Shawn Colvin or Mary Chapin Carpenter, take note of the following words because you will love Shawna caspithe new album of, Hurricane is coming.
In keeping with the prototypical lyrical content of all of the above, the Toronto artist’s Fifth Complete Collection is a heartfelt offering, brimming with open-hearted feelings and emotions that will resonate with many: insecurities, anxiety and self-esteem; hopes and dreams; relationships and peaks and valleys of love; mistakes and regrets in life; find our place in the world and learn to appreciate the victories of life, all find their place in Hurricane is coming.
As for the latter aspect – the little cheers of life – both from Caspi’s perspective as a performer and from that of anyone – like me – whose health history dictates the need for follow-up regular, the penultimate track, Celebrate, boasts of a wonderful verse:
The song that tames a crowd at the start of a show / The scan that comes back all clear five years in a row
Not to mention Caspi’s smooth guitar playing, his often poetic and thoughtful lyrics like these consistently flow through the ten perfectly performed songs that compactly include Hurricane is coming. Embedded in beautiful ballad and mid-tempo roots-pop melodies, they are delivered in his pure and emotional voice for emotionally and sonically enriching listening. Plus, these are familiar scenarios like the one featured in Celebrate and gently blowing it Dead city which Hurricane is coming so relatable. The latter presents a classic lyric of a stranger in a strange town and is a candid examination of self-awareness, impatience and, from the point of view is not strange, how condescending we can be – even unintentionally – when we find ourselves in a less sophisticated or slower place than we might be used to:
Big city bully when I stand in line / With the postman typing too slow / And I wave like I have to go
Love the return from Main Street / The local bar that just takes the money / The cowboy in the produce aisle
Nice observations, I think. I have been there, and you too, without a doubt!
Caspi took a whole different approach to creating the songs for Hurricane is coming than for previous albums. After her last grueling tour in support of Forest Fire in 2017, she took the time to decompress, slow down and work, she says, “the dark parts of me… exhaustion, anxiety and the struggle for self-esteem “. The result of that process was this new album, his most personal set of songs to date. In tandem with the songs, Caspi – already an accomplished landscape painter (based on photographs taken on tour) – took another fresh approach, embarking on a set of touching abstracts inspired by each song on Hurricane is coming, one of the series appearing as the album Amy campbell-Designed handle. In an innovative consumption model, each painting can be purchased (on Caspi’s website and Bandcamp page) as a postcard with a download code, with the full set also available.
Beautifully produced by Joel schwartz (Birds of Chicago / Great Lake Swimmers / Amelia Curran), who contributes guitars, banjo and mandolin, and co-wrote the opening Wait for love, Echo, and closer, Hold the light – the 33 minutes Hurricane is coming has a truly stellar group. Bass player Devon henderson performed with Justin Rutledge, Brendan Canning of Broken Social Scene and boogie-woogie pianist Michael Kaeshammer; drummer Marc Mariash worked with Mary Margaret O’Hara, Ron Sexsmith and The Wailin ‘Jennies, while also being a keyboardist Scott Galloway tones the ivories of Canadian country heavyweight Dean Brody. Backing vocals courtesy of (Highly Recommended Solo Artist) Sarah hiltz and Pierre Pierre Edmonton’s 100 Mile House folkies, while (except for a few items) all of the shebang was recorded by the Juno and Grammy nominated engineers Jeremy Darby and Julien Decorte at the Canterbury Music Company in Toronto. A strong cast indeed.
As it seems Caspi has faced a storm of emotions head-on in order to find the free space to create his fifth and best cathartic album to date, Hurricane is coming is certainly a suitable title for this. Yet despite great emotions, the result is, I’m delighted to report, a largely calm, calming, and melodically sunny affair, with Hurricane Caspi hopefully now past…
Hurricane Coming will be released on August 27, 2021. Pre-order via:
https://shawnacaspi.com/hurricane-coming/ | https://shawnacaspi.bandcamp.com/
Photo credit: Roni Hoffman