Street Sounds: Jay Sparrow takes flight with Bluebird

Alberta-based singer/songwriter Jay Sparrow cultivates a gritty alternative country vibe on his first full-length solo album.

Edmonton singer/songwriter Jay Sparrow is an ex-punk gone country-rock.

His voice ain’t pretty, more of a high pitched bark that you’d hear at some backwoods hootenanny, but it has character.

On Bluebird, his first full-length solo album, the Alberta-based singer/songwriter cultivates a gritty alternative country vibe like a rough-edged Brad Paisley without the guitar histrionics. As such, he’s a good representative of the flourishing roots-rock community in Western Canada.

There’s a toughness to Sparrow’s sound – it’s a terse stringed instrument-driven hybrid of rock and country.

The distance between Edmonton and Nashville is noticeably apparent on tracks like All the Boys Want You.

This song seems like a flagship tune for the album, pushed forward by its angular vocals and raw choruses. Most of all it moves on exuberance and good ol’ attitude.

Sparrow and his band get that across easily and the album has a candid, slap-back spirit, driven by nervous energy and rocking communion.

They summon up a weird swampy revivalist atmosphere on songs like Bound By Nothing that has biting lyrics like “Never had a redneck mind/Or whatever you call my kind/My mother had Christ/But she wouldn’t preach/Because she couldn’t lie.”

Otherwise, there’s plenty of good-time, throw-down wheat field country and straight out party rock (Everything but Today).

Sparrow has some of the strident Jack White delivery in his singing and the music has an edge, even when delivered with a back porch banjo (The Wind and the Risk). Sparrow and his band don’t hold back and Bluebird is a passionate performance that’s close to the bone.

Dean Gordon-Smith is a Vernon-based musician who reviews new music releases for The Morning Star.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Okanagan flavour to BC Senior Men’s Curling final

Kelowna/Comox rink takes on defending champs from Duncan/Nanaimo

Vernon Vipers waiting on playoff foe

BCHL: Snakes won’t play Victoria, but will play either Wenatchee or Salmon Arm

Star Quebecois pianist to take the stage in Vernon

Charles Richard-Hamelin will play on Feb. 29, with opening act by local Grade 11 student

West Kelowna Warriors edge Vernon Vipers 6-4

The teams meet again on Saturday, Feb. 22 at 6 p.m. for the final game of regular season

North Okanagan Knights take on Kelowna Chiefs in playoff preview

The teams will square off for last game of regular season, Round 1 of KIJHL playoffs

Governor general says multiple solutions needed for ‘complicated’ overdose issue

Julie Payette met at a fire hall with firefighters and police officers as well as politicians and health experts

HIGHLIGHTS: Day one and two at the 2020 BC Winter Games

Athletes had sunny – but cold – weather to work with in Fort St. John

B.C. money laundering inquiry to begin amid hopes for answers, accountability

Eby argued that most B.C. residents already know the previous government, at best, turned a blind eye

Blockades remain in place as Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs returning to B.C.

Hereditary Chief Woos said they are ready to engage in nation-to-nation talks with the B.C.

Dale family was prominent in Summerland’s past

Ruth Dale taught for many years

Tyler Toffoli scores twice, Canucks crush Bruins 9-3

Stecher, Miller each add three points for Vancouver

Zamboni driver, 42, earns NHL win over Maple Leafs

Emergency goalie called into action for Carolina Hurricanes

Landlord ordered to pay $11K after harassing B.C. mom to move days after giving birth

Germaine Valdez was pressured to move just a few days after giving birth by C-section to her child

Heart attacks strike B.C. husband and wife just over one year apart

Courtenay couple share personal stories to bring awareness to heart month

Most Read