Melissa McClelland has made a decidedly unmodern record. The local cowgirl's third CD, and first for Six Shooter, is like Bye Bye Blues meets a John Ford movie, moving back and forth between Dixieland jazz and high lonesome twang. Lyrical snapshots specific to Toronto add a visual element.
When The Lights Went Off In Hogtown waltzes through a memorable darkness, and when McClelland sweetly murmurs, "Snow, snow, snow / covering the driveway" on the resigned Seasoned Lovers, you begrudgingly warm to winter. The record doesn't always reach its goals - the horns and orchestrations are limp in the mix, suggesting that stripped-down simplicity works best for McClelland's tunes.
Top track: Brake
Melissa McClelland plays CMF Saturday (March 14) at the Reverb.