A sophomore album is always difficult but Spencer MacKenzie, now 18, has met that challenge and then some: his voice has matured and his songwriting has blossomed. Working with producer Dean Malton and on one track none other than Eddie Kramer, he has moved into the big leagues. He retains the quartet sound, augmented here with a horn section & a chorus and mentor Brant Parker returns on guitar, playing lead on three tracks. The best example of his songwriting and his performing is “Cold November”, the title song and its new single. Dedicated to the ‘November 2015 Paris attacks and to everyone affected by terrorism and hate in this world’, this impressive slow blues deserves to be heard. Unusually for someone his age this is the first song in a sequence of four slow blues that forms the middle of the CD when the norm would be to keep it rocking. The album opens with a funky “Fine Place To Start” with the horns, a song full of pickup lines and not actually refering to its place on the CD. “Move On Down The Track” is a very good train song about obstacles, in this case keeping him from his baby. Parkin rips off a fine solo. Another highlight is one of those slow blues, “Your Mama’s Crying”, with its attractive lyric about a quarrel. Gary Clark Jr.’s “Next Door Neighbour” is one of the two covers here and the song produced by Eddie Kramer. He gives the band a much harder electric sound with Parker on lead, different but very much a highlight. Go to www.spencermackenzie.ca and watch the video of the making the album and also check the listings for the next place you can catch him playing in the Niagara Peninsula.