The Captive Road - Kevin Finseth
Bohemian, ethnic and defiantly counter-culture; Commercial Drive (or The Drive, affectionately to locals) is a vital urban ‘hood. The blocks are solid with small store fronts spilling their wares onto the sidewalks. And, at its centre, one of the last holdouts of independent musical thought. Highlife World Music, founded in 1982 by Dennis Nella and Kevin Finseth remains a Mecca for global and roots music fans. Assumingly, Kevin Finseth has drawn from this treasure trove, his travels and his individual musical vision in the creation of The Captive Road, his sophomore release. Despite pedigree contributions from vocalists Frazey Ford and Lisa Pham, percussive atmospheres from Joseph Pepe Danza and Mallory Temple, Forbes MacKay on electric and Vancity’s first name in African guitar, multiple Juno-winner, Alpha Yaya Diallo, along with Peggy Lee on cello and help from The Bedouins, The Captive Road remains an extremely personal and intimate album. Finseth delivers the tales up front in a fragile voice teetering on collapse, held in play by his piano-based accompaniment. The ladies complement these tender moments with delicate, ethereal harmonies of their own. The Captive Road is an incomparable offering which, for someone who has made a career out of filing new sounds in old bins, must have been extremely challenging even for Kevin to describe. The moniker that seems to have stuck is “Ambient folk hymns … opium noir” which, I guess, is as good a place as any to start your journey down The Captive Road. Standout tracks include the opening air, Fall Away, The Reader, the exotic grooviness of Cairo April 1983 and some tasty guitar dueling on The Passenger.