Annie Sumi calls the lakes and forests of North Bay her adopted home. Her debut album depicts much of that scenery in its 33 minutes. Far from plain and simple folk music, Reflections is often lush with strings and slide guitar. Sumi’s acoustic guitar is the constant, sometimes delicately fingerpicked, sometimes strummed hard for a big chorus.
There’s a beautiful, natural lilt to Sumi’s voice, and she’s capable of delivering world-weariness, deep yearning or arresting fury. The chorus of Reflections Of Me, with its 50s love ballad chord progression, finds her at her most soulful, executing impressive but restrained vocal gymnastics. Gloomy soundscape Vandevi conjures up forest spookiness, and closer Best Of Me has a tender, whispered softness.
There are moments (The Waltz) of overwrought earnestness, and a few cheesy lyrics, but for the most part
Reflections sounds natural, honest and genuine. An impressive debut.
Top track: Best Of Me
Annie Sumi plays Supermarket Saturday (July 25).