Patrick Ballantyne is no stranger to the Canadian music scene — but usually he is the one creating the tunes instead of singing them. Canrock giant Gordie Johnson (of Big Sugar, Wide Mouth Mason fame), up-and-coming Meredith Shaw (the new Jann Arden) and the Trews are a few who have tapped into his writing talent. Hits like If I Had My Way, Girlwatcher, I Want You Now and All Hell For a Basement are all Ballantyne co-creations. Beat this Heart, his recent collaboration with East Coast sensation Tim Chaisson, won him a nomination for 2013 Song of the Year at the East Coast Music Awards.
However, the Windsor musician/songwriter emerged from behind the curtain to produce his own album (actually it is his second), Days of Rain, which was released this week.
It’s eclectic. There are songs that are reminiscent of The Traveling Wilburys and solo Tom Petty and there is clearly a George Harrison influence. With some guitar twanging thrown in, there are nods to country music and there is a bit of Johnny Cash in there too. That said, Ballantyne blends it together to create his own distinct sound. Wrestling with the Devil is a good example.
There are some great catchy, toe-stomping, rousing tunes like I’m Yours and Roll with It while I’ve got a Feeling is a beautiful guitar/piano piece that is one of the heavier, lyrically-intense songs.
As the album title suggests, it was borne from some difficult times and pain, death and loss are reflected in the lyrics. That said, ultimately, survival, love and redemption conquer the darkness evident in songs like I Follow You.
Ballantyne has proven yet again that he is one gifted songwriter. Days of Rain is a fantastic album. Every time you listen to it, you discover another layer of complexity and appreciate his musical ingenuity.
Grab it on iTunes or Google Play.