Dennis Ellsworth ‘Dusk Dreams’ (Busted Flat) 4/5

Canadian singer-songwriter Dennis Ellworth is an accomplished musician who belongs to the classic tradition of folk-rock from the 1970s and his influences barely disguise his musical upbringing. They include the likes of Paul Simon and Neil Young as well as more contemporary artists such as Elvis Costello. This second album sees Ellsworth in a rich and prolific vein of form and a third is already on the way and due for release at the end of the year. Bassist David Barbe doubles up as producer and together they have come up an album that is likely to appeal to a wide audience without Ellsworth losing the essence of his roots. The downtempo folk-tinged number ‘Perfect storm’ is a delight as is the gentle, shuffling beat of ‘Apple of my eye’ which features a lovely pedal steel guitar. Arguably the strongest number is ‘I don’t want to worry you’ and there are shades of the Cystal Gale sound of the late 1970s in the production here. For some subtle blues-rock, the title track fits the bill to perfection. This is a supremely well crafted and produced album that ticks most boxes, though this writer would have liked something a little less slick. Tim Stenhouse