True North is the charmed new foray from Phillip Henry, perhaps more commonly known for his duo work with Hannah Martin as their phenomenal project Edgelarks. In this solo undertaking however, Henry has branched out with his own unique and personal project that bring a stunning selection of deft guitar melodies to the world at large.
True North is a soft and gentle album that is evocative of a warming wander on a long Autumn day. The textured lullaby strains that Henry produces seem to wind their way to your ears like the rustling of the wind through the trees. It is an album that away at it’s own special niche as it gets imbued with influences from country, folk, roots and blues. This enigmatic combination structure leads to songs like I Can’t Keep From Crying, a rich and powerful tune that seems to draw inspiration from music around the world. With tracks like this applied by Henry’s quickfire hand the result is a collection of songs that are constantly fed with a stream of dextrous and delicate melodies that he coaxes from his guitar with ease.
It’s a while before Henry formally brings himself into the fray with True North. It’s not until his third track that he utters his first word but when he finally does it’s like a spark in the night that ignites a whole new world within his music. For such a veritable and peaceful collection of songs there is something hidden deep within Henry’s work that remains raw and almost incendiary and seems to steadily leak his unbridled passion and creativity. With a soft and calming voice that rings out with emotion, Henry’s words seem to float out to meet you alongside his charismatic performances.
The beautiful and perfectly crafted melodies stored within True North have each been carefully polished time and time again – there is a rawness to them that can make them sound rough in places but with each and every listen there are new elements and nuances that prove just how polished and refined Henry’s work is. His elaborate creations sound more like the work of a band than just one man and the result is an album that feels like it has harnessed the power of time itself. The day seems to squeeze and stretch as your find yourself lost in True North.
Review by Joe Knipe