Music Review: Paul Lamb - Get To What's Real

You know him from Crush, or maybe earlier from Signal Hill. Even if you can't remember those East Coast favourites, Lamb has a voice, and a talent, that immediately puts you at ease. By that, I mean as soon as his songs start, you relax and go "This is a good one". Lamb knows how to make a great-sounding recording, with lots of appealing hooks and moments, whether it's a fun uptempo number, or a strong love song. Every one of them on this new solo disc is an example of that.

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You could file this under several different categories, depending on what style you need. Most of the cuts would sound great in a modern country setting, for instance. Yet, they come from a rock-Top 40 place, and have a singer-songwriter base to them as well. In other words, the guy's a pro. He can make you cry, then turn around and make you dance. Amadea is a Tex-Mex rocker, big on the organ, big on the beat. I Know How You Feel is dark heartbreak, with a killer chorus, the kind of power ballad every hit-making hopeful from Nashville to L.A. is looking for. Keep Your Distance has great, stinging guitar lines, and a perfect pop framework, just catchy at every turn.

My favourite here is That's Why It Hurts, a co-write with Barry Canning. It's a familiar topic, the end of a relationship, but somehow the song manages to put words to those awkward moments, and the brutal feelings, when one person is still in love, and the other realizes they just don't feel that way: "It hurts to be in anything that's one-sided/and the more she holds on, the more he lets go/and the reason she stays is the reason he's leaving/that's why it hurts." Add one trademark weeping pedal steel, and feel your lower lip start to tremble. If I had money to invest (HA!), I'd try to grab a share of this guy's publishing.

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About Bob Mersereau

Rockin' BobBob Mersereau has been covering music, and the East Coast Music Scene since 1985 for CBC. He's a veteran scene-maker at the ECMA's, knows where the best shows and right parties are happening, and more importantly, has survived to tell the tales. His weekly East Coast music column is heard on Shift on Radio 1 in New Brunswick each Wednesday at 4'45. He's also the author of two national best-selling books, The Top 100 Canadian Albums (2007) and The Top 100 Canadian Singles (2010).

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