April 1998

Bruce Guthro - Of Your Son
EMI Music 7 2438 57175 2 9
Released: 1998
HDCD encoded

by Bruce Bassett

Musical Performance **1/2
Recording Quality ****
Overall Enjoyment ***

[Reviewed on CD]Let me preface this review by stating unequivocally that country music and I are diametrically opposed and mesh together about as well as an 8-track player with a high-end audio system. With that said, all of you country fans seeking an opinion on Bruce Guthro's music may want to hitch a trail ride to a different ranch since it would not be sage for me to lead that cattle drive. What I will remark upon is the other two-thirds of the CD, which is corralled into the folk genre.

This is Bruce Guthro's first big-label release, and after seeing him perform "Falling" accompanied by Symphony Nova Scotia at the East Coast Music Awards in February of this year, I was anxious to get my ears on the CD. His vocals were controlled emotion, and the richly textured sounds of the symphony's strings framed the song majestically.

Unfortunately, the passion emoted in the live performance does not flourish on the disc itself. Guthro's voice is mellow and pleasing to the ear, but the music is often over arranged and produced, detaching it from the vocals and possibly the true essence of the songs. The unfortunate result is a sterile sound more becoming of a major-motion-picture soundtrack than of thoughtfully penned folk music.

The songs that do standout are invariably the ones that apply the KISS principle. "Love Lives On" and "Falling" are superb examples of songs that gain their strength and beauty from the simplicity of their arrangements.

It is readily apparent that Bruce Guthro is a gifted songwriter, but I must ask: If folk music is real people singing about their hopes, feelings and thoughts, can it be truly effective when draped under the backdrop of big-budget Hollywood sound?