Christine Fellows

Burning Daylight (Arp)

Rating: NNNN

For her sixth album and first book of poetry, Winnipeg-based folk-pop songwriter Christine Fellows immersed herself in the North, conceiving the song cycle on a Yukon drive between Whitehorse and Dawson City. The accompanying poetry – as well as collages by Alicia Smith – came out of an NFB trip to Igloolik, Nunavut.

Inspired by American author Jack London (Fellows borrows the title of his 1910 novel, Burning Daylight), the record describes an incredibly harsh landscape: frostbite and drowned dogs the importance of provisions and dry matches the resilience of Northern women.

Like the Spartan landscape she describes, Fellows’s music is appropriately austere, antique yet avant-garde, and quietly theatrical. Her piano, pump organ, uke and melodeon are backed by a couple of cellists/multi-instrumentalists, plus touches of horn and percussion and lots of backup vocals. There’s a palpable sense of running on Call Of The Wild that contrasts with To Build A Fire’s low, heavy chords and the plaintive beauty of the opening title track.

Top track: Feu De Joie

Christine Fellows launches Burning Daylight Monday (September 22) at Type Books West.

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