Release Date: May 27, 2011
Record label: Tin Angel
Genre(s): Country, Folk, Pop/Rock
"The Warning Bell" lays it all out, pondering her professional life ("On the nights the guitar feels right and I ain't sick of the songs/It's a pretty good job") and petty marital squabbles ("I grind my axe in the morning/Pick my bone at night") along with occasional observations on the physical environment ("Pretty much all the leaves on the mulberry tree came down overnight"), while "Now's the Time," not a Charlie Parker nod but a jaunty paean to forward motion that's probably the most immediate (and country-ish) thing here, runs down potential next moves with an eye toward practicality ("I could teach and support us both/And give clean living a real go"). Elsewhere, we veer into somewhat murkier, more abstruse lyrical territory, as on the intriguingly funky "The Unmarked Animals" and the quizzical, gently swung "Monk/Monkey," but the album's central concerns -- getting older, acknowledging corporeal limitations, trying to live well and compassionately -- remain evident throughout. Those themes are also present in "Runs in the Family" and "Body's in Trouble," two well-selected covers and the album's sparsest moments, delivered with only Sproule's bluesy, minimalist self-accompaniment and substantially reshaped to suit her distinctive style.
Over the last decade, Devon Sproule’s made music that’s a little too weird to truly be folk, slipping into jazz at times and never quite committing to the old-time feel she leans toward. Her latest album I Love You, Go Easy makes classifying her sound even more difficult than it has been. Backed now by Canadian trio The Silt, Sproule gets sparse, experimental music that gives her room to play with her vocals.
Devon Sproule’s sixth album, I Love You, Go Easy, shows the singer-songwriter taking a turn towards simplicity. These songs have sparse arrangements and mostly focus Sproule’s voice. She sings in a plain and conversational style. She rarely goes for the high or low notes to make a point ….
Devon Sproule isn’t your average troubadour. Where similar country-inflected musicians bank on their unaffected patterns, cultivating a sense of earthiness and nostalgia (see Iron & Wine’s Our Endless Numbered Days or any Horse Feathers album), Sproule takes her cue from Bob Dylan, whose early success was born not only from his earnest, encompassing guy-with-a-guitar-against-the-world tracks but also from the ease with which he incorporated disparate influences in songs that featured many contributors. “Like a Rolling Stone” is like nothing else because it has a little bit of everything.
On her new album, I Love You, Go Easy, Devon Sproule often sounds as if she is reciting free verse over, along with, or occasionally against the accompanying music. On some tracks, like The Evening Ghost Crab and The Unmarked Animals, this creates a fresh effect, but it jars and distracts elsewhere on the album. The occasional fracture between vocal and accompanying rhythm can take away from what are mostly thought-provoking songs.
Favours subtle experimentation and imagination over chorus-heavy bluster. Chris Lo 2011 It's been more than a decade since Devon Sproule, the acoustic singer-songwriter born on a hippie commune in Ontario, recorded her debut album Devon at the tender age of 16. Still, she has walked the slow road to success, at least on this side of the Atlantic. 2007’s Keep Your Silver Shined proved her quiet breakthrough in the UK, earning her a spot on Later with Jools Holland and winning plaudits among fans of sultry, genre-bending folk-blues.