Guest Reviewer: Brad Wheeler, music writer for the Globe and Mail

Dione Taylor Spirits in the Water Matay Records

On an album of shimmering gospel and swampy Americana sounds, the chanteuse Dione Taylor has got those restless dropped-G blues.
Take, for example, the existential questioning of Where I Belong, in which the Regina-born, church-raised singer is runnin’ and searchin’ and has to “keep on movin’.”
On the acoustic-slide-driven Down the Bloodline, the song’s protagonist is “runnin’ and runnin’ down the line.”
There’s a chugging, clapping Slim Harpo groove to Workin’. Taylor sings about cookin’, cleanin’ and “always dancin’ for the man.”
And on the defiant anti-racism of Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around, Taylor is fightin’, walkin’, marchin’, pushin’, prayin’, believin’ and resistin’.
So, there’s much of a muchness to Spirits in the Water, an album inspired by a Yuchi Indian legend of a singing river and motivated by a road trip to Tennessee. “Legendary stories and family history travel through us, flow into the waters and down the bloodline,” Taylor says in the album’s press release.
If Taylor is a repetitive lyricist, she’s a believable, pitch-perfect singer on these songs of perseverance. Her main collaborator is Joel Schwartz, who produced and co-wrote most of the album while pitching in on guitar and banjo. For fans of slick, cinematic river-bank blues, Spirits in the Water is your ticket. And, one might say, essential listenin’.

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