11 May 2018 (released)
29 April 2018
Those who haunt the indie scene in any metropolitan centre these days will be familiar with the most common of male archetypes in the culture, the lumberjack. The big beard which could have the look of a grizzled outdoorsman if it wasn't so immaculately coiffed. Black boots that would fall apart after a few days out in the elements. Skinny blue jeans that you couldn't possibly work in and a plaid shirt that would never keep you warm on the side of a mountain. The character that inhabits these clothes is equally unprepared for a hard days work out in the woods. The work of the day is done in a coffee shop and the connection to the natural world is just something he waxes poetic about from his apartment window.
Singer-songwriter Morgan X Barrie may dawn the same plaid garb as his counterparts in the current indie-folk scene but his clout is far more genuine. Barrie is a native of Owen Sound, Ontario, a town nestled on the Georgian Bay of Lake Huron, miles away from the pretension of Toronto's trendy neighbourhoods. As well as being an avid climber, Barrie has hand-built his own cabin out in the Canadian wilderness. When he muses on the natural world and hard-earned successes, it comes from a real place.
Fall is an album that mirrors the energy of Barrie's calm surroundings. On songs like 'Lost and Found', thoughtful guitar and pensive vocals centre around chord changes that always bring the listener home. 'Plastic' ponders the pro and cons of modern living brought home by an impassioned harmonica climax that brings to mind the works of fellow Ontarian, Neil Young. Late album cut 'Feeling Winter' also shows evidence of Young's stylings. Not in any overt way like an imitative voice but rather the subtle guitar strums and rhythmic patterns that defined Young's rolling and rollicking approach.
Barrie's latest album serves as a calm reflection. A soundtrack to staring out across the lake while taking stock of what you've accomplished and what's still to come. An album with the feel of wilderness, not imagined but lived.