Terry Whalen and Friends  There Ain’t Nothing in this World

Probably the only good thing to come out of the pandemic is the growing list of albums where artists team up remotely. It is an indication of just how strong the Canadian blues village is. 

The latest album from New Brunswick based bluesman, Terry Whalen, is an eloquent statement to the respect that this perpetually underrated Miramichi singer songwriter has earned from his fellow musicians. The “And Friends” includes names like Steve Marriner, John Campbelljohn, Matt Andersen, Garrett Mason, Ross Nielsen and a whole lot more.

The sheer scope of connecting with, sharing music and accessing recordings during a pandemic is daunting enough. This album took 2 & 1/2 Years from conception to completion, each song a piece of a sonic puzzle, carefully and lovingly, constructed by Whalen and his team. 

The album opens with a brilliant up-tempo track featuring special guest Steve Marriner. Stylin’ Steve’s harmonica is the perfect counterpoint to Whalen’s deep vocals on “Been Down To The Bottom”.  

The second track, “8 Days in Hell”, featuring Travis Furlong on guitar, is about the 8 days Whalen was in hospital after spinal fusion surgery. An eloquent statement to the things that go through our mind’s, when stress and pain are at their worst.

Up next is “Think I Finally Found the Blues” which features Bobby Cameron. A cautionary tale about understanding that as things get bad, they can always get worse. A tribute to the philosophical Other Guy. 

The fourth cut is the Title track, which sees Whalen team up with ECMA and MBA award winner Matt Andersen. A song that was written for his daughter Krista, Whalen pours his heart and soul into this beautiful tribute to a father’s love. The sweetness of this track is enhanced by the background vocals, provided by Sherri Chenard.

The fifth cut features Halifax, Nova Scotia’s John Campbelljohn, who is considered one of the top blues guitarists in Atlantic Canada. These two veteran blues men play off each other brilliantly in a “Rock n Roll Kinda Way”  

The next track sees Steve Marriner’s second contribution to the album, with “100 Year Old Guitar”. Inspired by a story that Ed Boulter told about the acquisition of a century old guitar, they teamed up to create this story song. 

The next cut sees Whalen team up with an Atlantic Canadian blues legend, Garrett Mason, for “We Got it Wrong”. A song about the political divides all over the world, that proves we are getting it wrong in the name of freedom.

The eighth cut features a team-up with fellow New Brunswicker, Ross Nielsen, now based in Saskatchewan. A driving blues road song, “Trouble By My Side”, a tribute to Keith Richards, in which trouble takes on a human form, riding shotgun down the blues highway.

Track nine is a rockin’ blues, that takes on a gospel feel with “Lord Wont You Please”. It features Tim Gallant on slide guitar, creating a select Miramichi sound.

The tenth track on the album is “Lonely Road”, a song about mental issues, especially during the past year. This is the first of two tracks on the album that features Andy Daly, St. John, New Brunswick.

Up next, “It’s You”, a tribute to Whalen’s wife, a blues rock love song that features Shaun O’Rielly.

“What Would You Say” a co-write with John LeBlanc about his father’s passing. This cut also brings Andy Daly back in as the special guest.

The final cut is “Heart Skips a Beat” a co-write done with John LeBlanc and his brother Ron, in Ireland. An 8 minute epic jam, featuring Tim Irving, about the emotional scars of losing a love one.

This is also a project that is near and dear to Whalen’s heart. The album cover features his beloved dogs Bella and Willo, both of which passed during the writing and recording of this album. In their honor, all proceeds from the sales of the album will go to support the SPCA.

This album seldom strays from the blues, remaining true to the styles and musical ideals that are at the heart of every Terry Whalen song. The addition of so many talented friends just makes the music all the more compelling. 

When you gather this much talent into one project, the expectations are sure to be very high. With “There Ain’t Nothing in this World”, Terry Whalen does not disappoint! (Terry Parsons)