Old Cabin – stage pseudonym of Yukon singer/songwriter Jona Barr – is soulful, sincere folk music, gently steeped in old-time traditions without re-treading tracks. This is folk music done without pretension, or that goddamned over-compressed acoustic guitar sound that’s like a folk song being strummed by Guns N’ Roses during an unplugged set. Indeed, Old Cabin reveals acts like Mumford and Sons for the overproduced, soulless imitators of the craft that they are.

This is the real thing. It’s soulful, evocative and bucolic. Sighing with the forlorn fright and wide-open sprawl of the country, Old Cabin explores a vast and beautifully lonesome sound.

Sweet, silvery wisps of pedal steel, the croon of Barr’s gentle, yet poignantly barbed vocals and a melting pot of warm and wooden instruments frolic together in a beautiful borscht of Canadiana.

It is extremely sad that folk music has been misrepresented as howling pop stars doing terrible imitations of Celtic music mixed with schmaltzy, late-era Peter Gabriel, because this album is achingly genuine. It’s folk tradition without all the bullshit irony. This is sincere, haunting and soulful expression by a deft and talented songwriter.

Old Cabin is the perfect companion to a harsh winter night, curled up by the roaring fire with a bowl of stew and a glass of whiskey, as you rock back and forth in Grandpa’s creaky old chair.

By Nick Laugher

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