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 sparse 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.” –  newcanadianmusic.ca

 “Penguin Eggs picks for September. Another wonderful record from one of Canada’s best songwriters.” – Penguin Eggs

 “Dave Gunning’s career gets a Lift. Expect more awards on the Gunning trophy shelf for his brand new 11th album, Lift. This highly accomplished and eclectic collection is sure to please his still-growing audience at home and abroad.” – fyimusicnews.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.” – CBC Music New Brunswick

“Gunning’s famed practice of incorporating storytelling into his set was a treat, as it allowed the audience to connect very strongly to his music: every song in his set was introduced with the tale of what had inspired it. His set was impeccable, and the energy he drew from the audience went straight into his performance; he was constantly in motion, whether it was strumming his guitar softly as he spoke, or stamping his foot while he played. We were charmed.” – theaureview.com

“Nova Scotia is a cool place for folk. In fact is downright cold in winter, but also has a fine folk music sensibility throughout its populace, much of which transported from Europe and of course adapted to the locale. Dave Gunning is doing his part to carry on the tradition, but with a mix of present-day sensibility in his songs that integrates a heartland North America feeling much of the time. There are some classic historical song stories and some timeless protest styled songs as well, so you get a fine mix of themes and stories here. And the vocals and music will hold your interest just as well.”  – folkworld.de

 “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.” – 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.” – 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.” – 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.” – Windsor Square

 “It is that sense of intimacy through his writing, and his performances that makes Gunning an absolutely intriguing performer to watch and listen to.” – Newfoundland Herald

“Dave Gunning is one of Canada’s musical treasures. He is a songwriter who can be comfortably grouped with the likes of Gordon Lightfoot, Stan Rogers and Murray McLachlan. As a performer, his professional approach is engaging, humorous and above all musically compelling.” – Mike Hill, Artistic Director, Mariposa Folk Festival

 

No More Pennies

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

 “Dave Gunning is from Nova Scotia in Canada which has excellent European and world folk traditions at the heart of its fine music scene. Gunning also adds some American heartland songwriting style in music. The music is smooth, smart and inviting. Just when I am uncertain of whether it reminds me too much of what I have heard before, he tosses in a guitar line or melodic twist in the vocals to push his song to a higher level. Everything is balanced nicely, both within the songs and within the album as a whole. Folk-rock fans should give this one a listen.” – folkword.com

“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, ardour and empathy.” – newcanadianmusic.ca

“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

“Dave Gunning is a rising star in Canadian acoustic music. He’s the full package.” – thespec.com

“… one of the rising stars in Canadian folk music.” – TheRecord.com

“It’s a star-studded affair, but at the centre of it all is Gunning with his sparse folk sound and crystal clear lyrics that have made him a popular name along the east coast and into the U.S. and Europe over the last few years.” – eastcoastnoise.com

“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

“Gunning is the next big thing in the True North of Song, an artist as compelling, as assured and attentive to every nuance of the writing process, as Lightfoot, Cockburn and Stan Rogers before him.” – Toronto Star

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