Reviews

Lift

 “Over a career now spanning 20 years and 10 albums, folk-based singer/songwriter Dave Gunning has earned multiple Canadian Folk Music and East Coast Music Awards (and a Juno nomination) for his well-crafted work. An engaging performer, he has entertained audiences in the U.S., Europe and Australia and is highly respected by his peers. New (eleventh) album Lift is shaping up as his best yet. The self-produced record has a sparce and acoustic feel, but there’s plenty of lyrical and musical variety here, with some tunes having a pro-environment message. Gunning has a very honest and big-hearted vocal style, and we expect this fine album, Lift, to add to his trophy collection.” –  Kerry Doole, newcanadianmusic.ca

  “Dave Gunning delivers straight-forward acoustic gem with Lift. Gunning is certainly one of the most celebrated songwriters we’ve seen from the Maritimes…he’s joined the ranks of the very best from these parts. As I’ve said before, if you want to know about the Maritimes, get a Dave Gunning album.” –  Bob Merserseau, CBC Music New Brunswick

 “Gunning’s national acclaim should continue with his new album, Lift. Stellar songwriting and tasty delivery mark everything from the tale of a farmer’s journey “A Tractor,” the sea shanty “A Breaker’s Yard,” the apocalyptic tale with a train metaphor “This Changin’ Wind and the second-cousin train story song “The Red Onion” to the love songs “Love Fell In” and “To Be With You” and the life anthem that would do Colin Linden proud “Sing It Louder.”Wilfred Langmaid, Fredericton Daily Gleaner 

 The record has a great deal to recommend it, from its heartfelt historic ballads and love songs to the warm, pared-back production style, but Gunning is especially proud of how he was able to express his feelings about the effort to convince Pictou County’s Northern Pulp mill to curb its emissions and effluent. – Stephen Cooke, Chronicle Herald

  “A gifted and prolific writer, he is also a delightful entertainer with a gentle humility and a charming wit, someone who can hold an audience in the palm of his hands. His latest CD, “Lift,” is a wonderful musical mix. Over all, “Lift” is a lovely and lovable recording, certainly one of his best. “- Dan MacDonald, The Cape Breton Post

 “His storytelling enthralled the audience as they hung onto every word, and it was no wonder there was a line-up for his autograph after his set; almost as long as the line for a Walkerville beer.” – Ian Shalapata, Windsor Square

 

 No More Pennies

 “Gunning’s songs give voice to the downtrodden and salute the pride and values of hard working people. Gunning has emerged over the last 15 years as one of the defining voices of East Coast songwriting, joining the forces of Stan Rogers and John Allan Cameron as chroniclers of life …”–  Penguin Eggs

 “Nova Scotian Gunning’s tenth song collection sparkles from beginning to end.” Maverick Magazine, UK ****

 “Gunning writes like a dream, grabbing the listener with a foolscap of lines that are as tight as the planks on a fisherman’s dory and as colourful as a Newfoundland outport. True, he has co-written a number of the songs with a literary club that includes George Canyon, David Francey, Bruce Guthro and Lennie Gallant, but make no mistake it’s Gunning’s album all the way. A gentle reflectiveness pervades throughout … Pennies with the Maritimer spinning stories that are delivered with a voice dripping melancholy, remorse, ardor and empathy. – newcanadianmusic.ca

  “Truly, what makes Gunning so remarkable as an entertainer is his rare gift to be able to befriend the audience as a whole from the stage throughout the course of the concert. And, indeed, you do feel as though he’s as good of a friend as any after a night of songs, stories and lighthearted laughs. –            The Guardian, Todd MacLean

 “Dave Gunning’s at it again. Defining our lives, baring our souls, telling what it’s like on the East Coast these days, or for people from the East Coast. From retired railway men to hard-core hockey fans to those who’ve had to pack up and go to Alberta, Gunning’s speaking for them, telling their tales.

They’re rich in detail too. The old coal man in Coal From The Train is a rough sort of course, and don’t cross him when he’s drinking, but the song is really about helping out in a poor community. He knows poverty, has seen every inch of it passing by on the train his whole life, and is the first to dig deep when it comes to giving. It seems he always tossed coal from the pile when the train passed by the poor shacks on the line. Juno-winner David Francey, who has been spending a lot of time in the East the last year or so, co-writes and duets on A Game Goin’ On, the hockey number. For those who think the national game exists on Sports Desk and in hockey pools and sitting in $150 seats, the pair take us down to the pond in small town Canada, where the goal is a pair of frozen boots, and everybody brings a shovel to clear the ice. If the players stay locked out all year, it’s this type of thinking that will save the sport.

 Today I think of all I know who have moved to Alberta or points west. We miss them, they miss us, and the ones I know still describe themselves as Maritimers or Newfoundlanders, even those whose left three or four decades ago. Gunning’s Living In Alberta explains the dilemma; working in the oil sands isn’t like walking through the ocean sand. There’s money and new friends out west, but there’s the feeling he doesn’t belong: “I’m living in Alberta, dying to get back home. You wanna know what it’s like to be from the Maritimes? Buy a Dave Gunning album.” CBC New Brunswick, Bob Merserseau

 “The project is his strongest and most consistent collection of songs yet, pulling together a dozen beautifully crafted tunes, mostly co-writes with other prominent Canadian songwriters including David Francey, George Canyon, Lennie Gallant, Bruce Guthro, Jamie Robinson, Scottish musician Karine Polwart and Pictou County’s Jim Dorie. – Penguin Eggs

 

 

… a tribute to John Allan Cameron

 “John Allan was Dave’s first major influence and not only was John Allan’s hero, he was his friend. It is now quite fitting that Dave put together many of John Allan’s songs on his own CD in tribute to his hero. The CD contains 17 tracks, all done by Dave to perfection. He tried to keep close to John Allan’s music as much as possible, although no one can come close to John Allan’s distinctive voice, says Dave. Atlantic Seabreeze cannot say enough of favourable comments regarding this fine CD, and gives high ratings for the CD on its rating list.” – Atlantic Seabreeze *****

  “Move ahead to present day. John Allan has passed on (always remembered and always missed), and the student takes the opportunity to create a tribute to his hero. It’s a CD of some of John Allan’s best know work, lovingly recorded by Dave and his friends, many of whom were also friends with John Allan.

  Sound The Pibroch, Freeborn Man, The Four Marys, Butterfingers Medley and so on, most carefully recreated but some with newer arrangements, and a few others that may not seem connected until you dig deeper. Dave does the vocals, backed up by friends of John Allan’s like Allie Bennett, JP Cormier, Pee Wee Charles and John Allan’s son Stuart, along with a host of other guests along to pay tribute in their own way. Dave Gunning’s A Tribute to John Allan Cameron, is a complete package. If you’re either a fan of John Allan’s or a fan of Dave’s, this CD should be in your collection.” – The Cape Breton Post

 


discography

 Lift (July 10, 2015)

No More Pennies (2012)

Christmas Too (2011)

a tribute to John Allan Cameron (2010)

We’re All Leaving (2009)

House For Sale (2007)

Dave Gunning Christmas (2006)

Two-bit World (2004)

Dave Gunning Live (2002)

Caught Between Shadows (2000)

Lost Tracks (1996)

 

Candles & Evergreens (2008) recorded with George Canyon

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