Allen Dobb’s recently produced CD, Rosetown, conjures-up the Canadian landscape and even deeper, more personal realms. Credit producer/engineer John Ellis, who also plays guitars, mandolin, banjo and pedal steel on Rosetown, for mixing an evocative soundscape that showcases Dobb’s well-crafted lyrics and hook-laden, eclectic music.
“Some of the songs kind of wrote themselves,” Dobb explained. “We were all in the same room when we recorded, and I think it helped create Rosetown’s intimate, laidback narrative flow.” In addition to John Ellis, those in “the room” and laying it down live off the floor, were long time Dobb bassist Rob Becker, and drummer Harvey Kostenchuck. “Another beautiful circumstance of the Rosetown sessions was having Katrina Kadoski come in to add her stellar vocal harmonies to four songs. The timbre, and the emotional attachment combined with restraint was exactly what I was looking for”.
On Rosetown, Dobb’s vocals inhabit a cast of characters with a master’s grace. One exemplary performance is his reading of “Next Year Country”. On that song he sings both sides of a rural partnership’s longing and caps the tune with a line punctuated with hope. Like the greatest blues, it transcends heartache. Dobb carves to the core of this bond on “Reasons Why”, singing passionately, “I don’t know the reasons why/ Some things live and some things die/ And if I did/ Every one I’d give/ To see our love survive.” “Maggie O’Donnell” is another tale of loss and longing. A simple, hypnotic, acoustic guitar melody frames each finely etched image in this haunting, multi-layered narrative.
Among Rosetown’s strengths is the recording’s flawless sequencing, and “Maggie O’Donnell” flows like a magic trick into “Magnetic North’s” passionate, dreamlike, CD-capping vision. The eleven originals and a wise reading of Peter Case, Bob Neuwirth and Tom Russell’s classic collaboration, “Beyond The Blues” are rich with piercing, poetic images and hard-won wisdom. Dobb has created a powerful suite of songs that captures the grandeur of the west and the mysteries of the heart.