Carly Dow – “Ingrained”, 4.5/5

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Album Art courtesy of Carly Dow.

It is no surprise that Ingrained graced the National top 10 charts in the folk/roots/blues category and subsequently carried Carly Dow on tour across Canada.

Ingrained is instrumentally tight with a variety of contributions including a soulful harmonica in the song “Casanova,” and a bluesy guitar crawl through “This Dress.”

A stomp-and-clap keeps the beat for the extremely strong opening folk-march “Olive Branch,” which has incredible harmonies and powerful lyrics, a foreshadowing for the album’s fantastic vocal lead.

Dow uses lyrics to tell fantastic, emotional, and poetic stories, as is illustrated in “Down the Road” and “All Sleep Tonight.” There is no particular stand-out track in this album because all the songs are fantastic and different in their own right.

There are a variety of songs that cater to a range of moods, thoughts, and emotions. The morose vibe of “Soil to Dust” is amazing, especially for such an upbeat song. Your heart jumps when a track opens with a capella vocals because it is such a clear and soulful instrument and a treat to enjoy independently.

The fact that Dow recorded parts of the album in the Visitor Centre of Riding Mountain National Park adds to the folksy charm and sense of intimacy intertwined into the incredible music performances.

I highly recommend this album to anyone who is in Folk Fest withdrawal and needs something to tide him or her over until next summer.