“Words of Love – a fourth, full-length album bursting with history, a stellar touring band and Allison’s voice– “as clear as a country stream” – is sure to quench your musical thirst.”~ Tom Allen (Writer, Musician, Broadcaster for CBCMusic)
TORONTO – Acclaimed Cambridge, Ontario musician ALLISON LUPTON releases her stunning fourth album WORDS OF LOVE on Saturday, March 30th at Toronto’s premier listening room Hugh’s Room Live, 2261 Dundas St. West. She will be joined by an all-star band including Andrew Collins, Shane Cook, Tony McManus, Joe Phillips and Ivan Rosenberg. To continue the Words of Love momentum, she’ll be taking the new music on the road with Ontario dates in Kingston May 24, Almonte May 25, Goderich May 31 and Cambridge on June 1st.
FB Event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/291158238251580/
Allison Lupton is an accomplished singer-songwriter who performs self-penned and traditional songs with sensitivity and grace, while adding an extra dimension to her stage presence through her virtuoso flute playing. Born and raised on a second generation dairy farm in rural Ontario, Lupton has always been immersed in Canadian folk life, but it took a love and intense study of Irish and Celtic music for her to find her way to the Canadian folk music tradition that she’s grown up around.
Lupton – a Canadian Folk Music Award nominee for her work with the trio The Lucky Sisters and a Folk Music Ontario “Songs from the Heart” grand prize award-winner for her songwriting in 2015 – has recorded three solo CDs and was featured on CBC’s Radio’s Vinyl Café and BBC Radio nan Gàidheal. Always a festival favourite, she recently toured the UK performing at the Hebridean Celtic and the Warwick Folk Festivals among others.
It’s her unique voice and brilliant flute-playing that captivates audiences and it’s evident in the new album Words of Love, which showcases her original material, songs that fit so perfectly into the cannon of Canadian folk music that they could easily be mistaken for traditional numbers.
Along with a brilliant lineup of musicians Lupton brings to life the best of the contemporary folk music scene in Ontario, while incorporating the Celtic influences that have been such an important part of the Canadian immigrant story as well as her own musical path.
Common themes of itinerant labour, eternal love, and family history are throughout the album, with Lupton’s piercing voice perfectly matched to the material. On “Away,” timeless truth is ensconced in a traditional Gaelic-style folk tune, fittingly carried “away” on some sublime fiddle playing during the instrumental breaks.
“What Will I Dream” is an anthemic gem and features Cook and Collins who propel this sprightly ode to the possibilities for Canada’s future. Bassist Joseph Phillips is a real standout on tight and sweet backing vocals here too. With the melody borrowed from the Gaelic song “Mo Ruin Gael Dileas,” “When First I Went to Caledonia” is as pretty and profound a love song as you’ll ever hear, featuring a gorgeous, yearning penny whistle and a heart-rending violin. The title track is a sweetly percolating love song based on an old love letter found in an ancient church during renovations, and it features rare backing vocals and lovely solos all around.
Moving to a slightly different feel, “Lost Jimmy Whalen” is a log driver ballad, a spooky, slow-building version of a traditional Ontario folk song, where a grieving lover calls her deceased sweetheart Jimmy back from the grave. It peaks with a distinct fiddle solo. This piece is as honeyed and haunting as a good traditional Celtic piece should be. “Dusty Boots” is another in the same vein, a mournful, poignant original song written by Lupton herself, about her paternal grandfather who went West in the 1920s to work on threshing teams, earning enough for a down payment on his first farm. The low backing vocals and bowed bass in the chorus really bring the song home.
“Ontario Tune Set” you’d find in any “session” at any given Irish pub on a weekend late-afternoon, three fiddle tunes strung together for a guaranteed good time. These are all from Ontario, and Allison’s flute really shines here. She learned them from Cook, who wrote the first tune “Mel’s 100th” and arranged the set.
Lamenting the hardship of a weaver’s life in the late 1890’s textile mills of England, “Poverty Knock” is an evergreen classic that’s just as relevant today. It features a rare, short guitar solo from Tony McManus, and a deceptively pleasant sing-song melody.
Lupton’s originals really are notable, such as “I Will Rise,” an uptempo anthem of determination, inspired by the strength and courage of loved ones. Ivan Rosenberg’s dobro solo is superb, and the triumphant spirit of the song is as infectious as it is undeniable.
Another is the final track “The Grand River Waltz,” an achingly beautiful, wordless tribute to the glory and beauty of the Southern Ontario river that could easily stand with any sweet, slow traditional Gaelic tune you’d care to name. It’s a soft and lilting waltz with strings and flute, that harkens back to an earlier era where the water would have been pristine and sparkling as this melody. It has a short melodic strain that is reminiscent of the traditional Irish piece “Parting Glass.”
With her new album, Words of Love, Lupton can count herself securely among Canadian folk music’s finest contributors.