Robert Billard & The Cold Calls – Stop
10 songs time – 45:43
Rustic roots music emanating from what sounds like the heart of the Canadian spirit from singer-songwriter Robert Billard. He possesses a hearty mountain man of a voice. The liner notes don’t stipulate what he plays, but from photos, it looks like he accompanies himself on acoustic guitar. He is surrounded by a respectable stable of musicians on this endeavor. It’s the usual suspects of guitar, keyboards and drums. He has managed to wrangle up two fine electric guitarists in Tony “Wild T” Springer and JW-Jones. The rest of the crew offers sturdy support values.
The music within is largely of a gritty variety. Robert’s commanding vocals hold your attention. “Road To Nowhere” begins with the pops and crackles of a vinyl record. It’s a mournful song that includes a haunting uncredited slide guitar part. Gowan lends his piano skills to “Six Ptarmigan”. JW-Jone does a bang-up job on guitar. Robert’s vocal on this song ranges from quiet to a more emotive delivery. JW once again features on his expressive guitar on “Waiting For The Land To Dry”.
Tony “Wild T” Springer shows off his inventive guitar on “No Shape For Talking”. Murray Porter executes some nifty piano on the track. A musical intro to “I’ll Leave You Alone” bears resemblance to the intro of Cream’s “Tales Of Brave Ulysses”. The song has a definitely mysterious vibe to it. JW-Jones lends his wicked slide guitar to the insistent groove of “Groove”, lol. Springer turns up again on guitar on “Well Enough Alone”. He leaves his mark again, but more reined in.
“Waiting On Time” serves up more of a pensive atmosphere, once again with Mr. Spriner’s unique guitar stylings. Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne makes his one and only appearance on piano on “Nothing Can Stop Me Now”, which also includes the blistering guitar of JW-Jones. The song that clocks in with the longest time, “Home”, appropriately takes the proceedings home. Tonye Aganaba adds her haunting and soulful secondary vocal to the song.
A truly enjoyable slice of Americana is served up here in the able hands of Robert Billard & The Cold Calls. He possesses a voice worthy of a seasoned mountain man. He also co-produced this effort with Andrew Conroy. The lyrics throughout drip with sincerity. It’s all enveloped in a Canadian sensibility. A well-executed project.