Greg Macpherson Band – Good Times Coming Back Again

Greg Macpherson Band
Good Times Coming Back Again

Before I start, what’s with bands not putting any capital letters in their CD artwork? It’s been weeks and weeks since I’ve seen a capital letter and it’s starting to concern me. What gives? Is this to rebel against the nasty English teacher in 8th grade? Is it some sort of secret club? [We like capital letters, and thusly are capitalizing the band name and album title and such – ed.]

Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, here’s the debut release from the Greg Macpherson Band. (Oops, I meant to say the greg macpherson band.) Greg is a songwriter from Canada, and he has the good sense to hire an ace rhythm section (including members of the Weakerthans) to back him on these songs.

The name of this record is Good Times Coming Back Again, but one can’t help but wonder when those good times are coming. Macpherson writes wordy songs about everyday people on the street, and it sounds like things aren’t going so well. Among these 12 story-songs, issues such as alcoholism, sickness, working (and unemployment), and relationships frequently pop up. But rather than just relate a story, he approaches the emotional aspects of his subjects. If you’re beginning to think that Macpherson is inspired by one Mr. Bruce Springsteen, you probably wouldn’t be the first.

Although Macpherson didn’t bring his own E Street Band, the songs have been very well fleshed out, so there’s more going on here than just the lyrical content. Although the vocals are put out well front and center in the mix, it’s worth paying attention to the arrangements and what’s going on underneath the vocals. “Radar” is a standout, a rocking number that features a nice surprise at the end, a herky-jerky breakdown section. And “Windows” features a great use of dynamics, building from a quiet beginning to a roaring finale, and then taking it back down to a whisper by the end.

Although there are a decent amount of bright spots, on the whole the songs failed to connect with me. Macpherson’s voice is so loud in the mix that some of his vocal inflections become a bit grating after repeated listens. And although Macpherson sings about blue-collar, small-town living, don’t automatically put him in the same league as Bruce Springsteen. Not yet, anyway. As Macpherson matures as a performer and lyricist, he might just make that brilliant, defining statement that turns him into a household name. The potential for greatness is there.