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Benn Ross 

Le Nose, (Gooseberry Records)

Gooseberry Records owns this spring season with local must-get releases from The Lodge, Doug Mason, killer tribute albums for Eric's Trip and The Super Friendz, and now Benn Ross' haunting Le Nose. A talented percussionist who has quietly put out several EPs of his own over the years, Ross' new album should draw more attention---initially for the list of guest vocalists, but the colourful electro-folk arrangements and songwriting can't be ignored.

Ross composes layered songs that draw out beauty and unexpected dimension from various vocalists (including his own contributions). A duet with Erin Costelo, "Truest Heart," envelopes as if you're listening from inside a human body, thanks to Ross's heart-beating drums and Costelo's deeply relaxed voice. With an eruption of thunder, "Skip the Tide" conjures a foggy day and soul with Jenn Grant, Tanya Davis and Tyler Messick sharing vocal duties atop Ross' percussion, which holds steady like a lighthouse lamp. More watery images emerge on "Down The River," with Catherine MacLellan's pretty vocals carried by Don Brownrigg's accordian. Brownrigg appears again on "We Listen," backing folk singer Joyce Saunders, whose voice and words, especially on "Peach," creates a soulful mood like Beth Gibbons of Portishead. A wonderful find.

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Vol 26, No 12
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