Though we may not celebrate them quite as loudly as they do in, say, Texas, Canada too has its share of musical outlaws. Most of 'em go rather quietly about the business of producing music of uncompromising integrity that refuses comfortable categorization. And as our answer to icons like Delbert McClinton or Doug Sahm, I'd nominate Sudbury's Sunny Fournier.
"My Kind" is Sunny's fourth outing, and like Delbert's best stuff it's equal parts roadhouse rock, soul, R&B, blues, with the end result a rootsy stew brimming with heart and soul. Sunny wrote all the songs here (one with producer and multi-instrumentalist Ken Whiteley), showing a refreshing diversity that manages to encompass just about everything, from the slippery funk of the title track to the Delta-to-Chicago changes of "You Don't Love Me." There's a bit of pure pop ("Let Your Heart Be Your Guide" is better than it's title would suggest), and some pure late-night soul-blues a la B.B. "Wish You Were Mine" rides an Albert King -style groove, while "Who's Cheatin' Who?" sounds like James Cotton at his high-compression best. There's west-coast swing ("Women"), New Orleans ("Hot Little Mama"), a couple of shuffles, and another nod to Mr. King (B.B. again) for "So Long And Goodbye."
Eclectic indeed, but for the most part it's all a comfortable fit for Mr. Fournier's energetic delivery. Musically he seems as comfortable with the Mississippi sun upon his back as he is in a smoky Chicago club or out on the harsh Alberta prairie. Lyrically, however, he adds nothing new, resorting primarily to the tried and true and resorting to cliché a little too often.
Joining Sunny are a who's who of the Canadian blues scene, including both Richard Bell and Michael Fonfara on keys and Downchild's Pat Carey on sax; Russell Jackson's on bass, and that other Whiteley, Chris (Producer Ken's son), contributes trumpet.
Sunny's vocals could perhaps use a bit more mileage; yet any lack of practiced smoothness is more than compensated for by a heart-on-the sleeve approach both direct and honest. Time will teach him either to handle or avoid the places he's stretched too far, but ultimately his is a voice that sounds just right for his material.
Production throughout has an appealing loose 'n' live feel; the few rough edges might have been smoothed over with a bigger budget, but given the project's raucous feel that may well have been to the project's detriment. All in all this is an excellent outing, one that bodes well indeed for Mr. Fournier's future. I look forward to hearing more.
P.O. Box # 632 Station B, Sudbury Ontario Canada P3E 4P8
Website : www.sunnyfournier.com
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