There is no question that David R Elliott is a Maritimer. He knows it’s been a hard winter – time for some reverb soaked balls to the wall Rock ‘n’ Roll! Grab your bag, catch up with the train, and don’t forget your bottle of whiskey; you’ll need it.
‘Sunshine’, Elliott’s latest effort, opens with the ear-splitting lo-fi Guided By Voices inflected ‘Silver Lining’. The song’s gritty underbelly lays bare some of the themes prevalent in Elliott’s lyrics. Issues like the ebb and flow of relationships, being misunderstood, surrendering to a better path, and many more.
Elliott’s deft balance of creative songwriting and his uncanny ear for the sweet syrup of melody are the two shots of whiskey that keep the buzz going on ‘Sunshine’. It’s not all ‘90’s era alt-country though; ‘Sunshine’ weaves many differing moods and styles, from ballads, to slacker rock, keeping everything fresh. These moods and styles are not created in solitary confinement. Adam Mowery contributes to some of the production and vocals, and the gorgeous duet with Kimberly D’Ambrosia, ‘Real Love’, is near perfection, illuminating Elliott’s songwriting craft.
“Run from my shadow and into the soaking wet sky/Sorry for nothing, you’ll just probly live till you die/ And real love, will follow you down.”
Elliott also shines when he kicks back and puts his feet up, takes a breather, and lets the beat languish. ‘Rush’ brings to mind J.J. Cale – unrushed, and with every moment of the song filled with something that keeps adding to it.
‘Sunshine’ as a whole is the musical equivalent of spontaneously choosing an outgoing train and not worrying about where you are going. I instantly enjoyed the album the first time I heard it and, honestly, I love it more and more with each listen. If the listener is meant to be taking measured shots of whiskey as each song progresses on the ‘Sunshine’ train, then ‘Asterix’, the song that bookends the album, has us downing whatever is left in the bottle. It’s as though Elliott is reminding us with all the cacophonous noise that the winter is coming again; in between all the lushness of life are storms, but we should all take a moment and enjoy the sunshine.
Jeff McLennan is our resident music enthusiast, and host of Local 107.3’s Vinyl Underground.