Catherine MacLellan "Silhouette"
A Canadian, MacLellan belongs to that group of songstresses who combine a sultry vocal delivery with a rootsy rock band backing. Think of Kathleen Edwards or Sarah Borges and you’re halfway there.
With a fine five piece band behind her, and vocal harmonies from Jadea Kelly, MacLellan is able to deliver radio friendly rock as in the opening song “Stealin’” and heartfelt laments such as the soulful “Lines On the Road,” written for a friend diagnosed with cancer. While the guitar rumbles of the uptempo songs are fine indeed, both she and the band excel on the more introspective numbers. Typical of these is “Eastern Girl,” a winning slow shuffle with sweet guitar washes and a fine handle on the dynamics while “Chop That Wood”, the starkest song here, has spooky percussive piano chords propping up a lament to an ex-lover.
While MacLellan can write well, and the songs mentioned above stand out she does have a slight tendency to veer away from the ditch and stay in the middle of the road. The folky “Black Crow” and the Laurel Canyon like “Keep My Eye on You,” while fine, lack an edge. The one cover here, MacLellan’s version of “Snowbird,” the old Anne Murray song seemed to me to confirm this tendency. On further inspection however it transpires that the song was written by MacLellan’s late father and as such is included as a tribute.