By Liam Prost
True North Records
Catherine MacLellan has been overfilling her father’s shoes for a long time now, but that doesn’t stop every bio and review written about her from referencing her lineage. Gene MacLellan is Canadian royalty, having written songs recorded by Elvis, Joan Baez, and Bing Crosby. His daughter is every bit as good a songwriter, having picked up a JUNO for her most recent full-length The Raven’s Sun (2014).
Gene’s songwriting is decidedly more traditional than Catherine’s, and she effectively softens songs like “Biding My Time” with a clean and unaccented delivery. The record is nicely paced with mostly heartfelt numbers, but plenty of driving moments with drums and electric guitars to keep the listening experience consistently entertaining.
The centrepiece of the record is undoubtedly Gene’s most famous song, “Snowbird” as made famous by Anne Murray. Catherine’s version is reserved, softly performed solo on electric piano, elongated with a verse only ever recorded by Gene. It’s immediate and resonant, heartbreaking even, with the allegory of the winter snowbird as the forever-feeling periods of grief, of untrue love, or of loss.
At 13 tracks it’s a good value record, and as a tribute album, it’s a reverent and polished effort.Catherine MacLellan, If It’s Alright with You, If It’s Alright with You – The Songs of Gene MacLellan, Record Review, The Songs of Gene MacLellan, True North Records