Folk World Review of Open Road, Broken Heart

Open Road, Broken Heart is True North’s newest album released 2017. The album features eight new originals penned by Kristen Grainger and four songs from Justin Evan Thompson, Brandi Carlile, Fred Eaglesmith, and Eddie Vedder. Guest artists Eric Alterman on cello and Todd Sickafoose on bass add their talents to this collection recorded by Dale Adkins at Big Owl Studios and produced by True North.

It is a folkyish album with more than a touch of bluegrass. And what comes over loud and clear is that one is in the presence of some seriously talented musicians. Some of the sweetest harmonies you’ll find this side of barbershop quartet singing, the album is also notable for the banjo of Dale Adkins, and Dan Wetzel’s mandolin.

Only one song was familiar to me: a Fred Eaglesmith song, Wilder Than Her, a song where the singer says these arresting words to explain the somewhat unusual relationship…

“Because I’m wilder than her; drives her out of her mind/I guess she thought that she was just one of a kind/But she’s a summer storm; I’m a hurricane/One just blows through town, one blows the town away/And I’m wilder than her.”

(Don’t you just love that couplet on “the town”!!?)

It is the song I liked the best, as they do a good job on it, and made me momentarily forget Fred’s version. But maybe the most beautiful, in terms of melody and harmonies is Ratio of Angels to Demons, where the sad, hard reality lyrics are slightly at variance with a deliciously gentle melody. But oh the three-part vocal harmony is to die for. To sum up then: this is just the album to play on a dreamy summer afternoon.

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