Published Aug 06, 2019There is no shortage of confidence in Jeremie Albino's music. Whether he's playing rollicking old school rock'n'roll or delivering slower, grander tracks drawn together with poetic metaphor or narrative, this musician captures rapt attention and makes it seem effortless.
Hard Time is Albino's debut, and was recorded between his Toronto hometown and Nashville. Working with producer Andrija Tokic and keyboardist Casey McAllister in Tennessee brought an extra glimmer to an album already full of songwriting gems.
Albino has always worked hard and with passion. Before pursuing music full-time, he was working on farms in Prince Edward County, ON. In fact, that small-town, hard-working charm is pervasive in many of his lyrics. "Midnight Wedding" tells the story of a couple of small-town kids falling in love and sneaking out, while "Wildfire" is a narrative about a man who refuses to leave his house and all that he's worked for in the face of encroaching natural disaster.
Albino is no stranger to the sensuality of poetry, either. You can smell Ontario's lilac season as you listen to the strings-laden and rhythmic words of "Lilac Way," while "The Cabin" plays out an acoustic fantasy with harmonies and images of escape so precise that it's hard not to fall in love.
But these moments are buried treasures next to the jumpy, danceable singles "Last Night" and "Hard Time," concert crowd-pleasers and sparkling guitar jaunts that keep the album frantic enough to be unpredictable. Closing on "Shipwreck" — the first song that Albino ever finished writing — a harmonica returns like sonic nostalgia and Albino lilts out, somewhat encapsulating the energy of the album's pop-to-wistful flow: "It's not the gold in my belly that's holding me down / the water that I'm under weighs a million pounds." (Sleepless Records)