CD Review : Greg MacPherson, “Mr. Invitation”

Almighty live rock performer Greg MacPherson is back with Mr. Invitation, the singer/songwriter’s first album with Smallman Records (he was previously tied with Propagandhi’s now-nonexistent G7 Welcoming Committee.)

Upon first listen, it’s fairly evident the new record explores aspects of travel for MacPherson, who originally hails from Sydney, N.S., and has apparently moved 37 times in his life. He currently resides in Winnipeg and even chose to title one of his new songs “West End,” probably in dedication to the famous area of the city that houses local stalwarts like Rae & Jerry’s Steakhouse on Portage Avenue.

The title track is a smooth throwback to a Tom Waits-inspired sound with low drums and slower beats, over which MacPherson proceeds to churn out soaring, melodic vocals. This track in particular is most worthy of the “repeat” button.

Elsewhere listeners will find a rock/twang sound, like on “Big Skies,” an appropriately-titled document of MacPherson’s many voyages. And closing track “Visitor” demands attention as a poignant ballad with a distinctive guitar strum that outlines Macpherson’s life in the Manitoba capital: “I came up from the East coast following a woman that I met back home/I did a couple years working nights at a warehouse job I hated/I ran up quite a bill at the bank, yeah I probably should have paid it/in a city like this it’s a wonder I even paid my rent.” Indeed, MacPherson, who is known as quite the compelling lyricist, doesn’t disappoint this time around.

It’s been nearly five years since the release of Night Flares, but the wait has been well worth it. MacPherson already has a steady fan following, and with these 10 new songs, he’s likely to gain more.

★★★★ out of ★★★★★