Conor Gains won the Cobalt Songwriting Prize for “Leave It On The Line” from Run Away with the Night. The prize is for innovation and creativity in songwriting and he has taken that to heart in the songwriting for this new one. The first single and the opening track, “I Know” opens with classical strings tuning before a choir comes in. With Gains vocal we are in a very contemporary R&B setting. By the time of the closing poem, where he states that music is his compass, it’s clear that this is a big budget affair – our New Talent winner has come a long way. The soul blues “Walking Alone”, with its lead guitar breaks and harmony vocals is a highlight, as is the retro R&B “Dance Like It’s Your Birthday”. The very attractive “I’ve Been Looking For Your Heart” has a Caribbean island feel to it before the song builds to a dramatic climax. The ambitious “Miracle” seems to be about the wonders of nature, with Indigenous rhythms dominating, especially in the horn parts. It seems he had pretty much everything he could ask for to do this project and he clearly shows he has the wherewithall to carry it off. It’s also clear that his inspiration is leading away from blues and towards a destination without boundaries of any kind. The CD Release Party is at the Rivoli on June 2nd, with surprise special guests. It’ll be interesting to see how these songs translate into a stage show. Perhaps even more interesting will be his solo show at the Orangeville Jazz & Blues Festival the next day. His web site is