Album Review: Andy Shauf – The Bearer of Bad News

Picture 16The Bearer of bad News is the first full length album on offer from Canadian musical extraordinaire Andy Shauf and one that has been three long years in the making. Early 2012 saw the release of his four-track EP Sam Jones Feeds his Demons which was the gateway to his current album and listening to it today you can clearly hear those three years hard work reflected in this perfectly composed album.

Shauf’s music borders on indescribable in terms of trying to categorise it to any particular genre, one moment it sounds like charming contemporary folk music and the next it veers its way into the realms of tender, smooth jazz. Shauf combines some of the most stunning compositions, filling them with evocative piano melodies, emphatic guitar medleys and smooth clarinet tunes that combine to create a set of uplifting and yet strangely haunting songs that are still fresh, tender and raw.

There is a soft and tender feeling to Shauf’s music which is likely enhanced by his use of the clarinet which is seldom heard in todays modern music. It gives the music he creates an almost timeless quality which is further carried by the indescribable nature of his music. To plug in your headphones and listen to this music you could as easily be transported to another time where Shauf still adorns the stage of your local bar.

Shauf has a voice that is as indescribable as his music is; soft and tender with emotive undertones and brimming with his passion and feeling – it is the perfect accompaniment to his life affirming music. The Bearer of Bad News is capable of lighting fires in the darkness, tiny flickering lights coming to life in the darkest recesses of your mind as the album gradually progresses bathing you in more and more light. It’s timeless quality means that it can be heard anytime, anywhere but there is something warming about it that hints that it could be even better on a cold, dark winters evening.

The inside of the album cover contains a beautifully written letter with one sentence in particular that might be the most apt and eloquent description of music to date. It simply states that “where words cannot tread, music carries the torch” and this in itself is the perfect summary for Shauf and his work. Words simply cannot do it justice, to must be heard to be truly understood.

Joe Knipe

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