Kids pointing guns at other kids. War. Prague. Good reviews. Bad reviews and a voice that sounds a little like The Boss.
If Cory Woodward’s first album is anything, it’s something to talk about; and in an industry flooded with new artists, where generating talk really isn’t all that cheap, this is an accomplishment.
“The big lesson is to be vulnerable in this world,” said Woodward, who is heading to the Minstrel Café for Sept. 17.
Woodward grew up internalizing most of his thoughts and feelings and, through his music, has learned to reveal a smidgeon of internal dialogue. This album, The Truth, might be considered the first public purge.
“It’s like a last breath of holding on to so much emotion and suppression,” he said.
Those thoughts include a frightening look at global conflict, apparently scribed on a trip through Prague, and an unusual track about time slipping away one might imagine would come more easily to someone in their 40s than a baby-faced album virgin.
Nevertheless, gravel-tongued and often slightly scruffy, there’s no denying there’s a hint of the kind of old-school Springsteen in Woodward that would have lead to big anthems in another era.
Woodward grew up in Edmonton and had a father who wrote country songs; yet he always felt isolated from the music scene until moving to Vancouver, seven years ago this January. Connecting with similarly-styled Vancouver singer/songwriter Ryan McMann at the city’s media club, he immediately found a niche in angst-ridden folk.
The Truth includes contributions from electronic artist Adaline, West Coast by label though a new Toronto convert; perky Kelowna-raised- Vancouver-based singer/songwriter Nat Jay, Debra Jean of Debra Jean and the Means and Carly Rae Jepsen. Jepsen’s song Call Me Maybe, also originally a folk song, was just named Billboard’s song of the summer, so he’s certainly in good company.
The Truth is thus an energetic reflection of the West Coast music scene of the moment and should be a treat to listen to when Woodward rolls through town at the beginning of his cross-country tour.
“The first time I (went across Canada) I did it alone and I said to myself I’ll never do it alone again,” he said.
This time, fortunately, he has strategies to cope with the alone time as he is, once again, tackling the trip solo. He claims he falls into his own head a little too much after hours in isolation and has trouble rallying for the shows once he arrives at his destination. So, car packed with books on tape, Woodward will be listening to words of wisdom all the way to Kelowna.
Cory Woodward plays the Minstrel Café on Monday, Sept. 17. There is a $5 entertainment charge.