Wearing a troubadour’s hat

Brett Wildeman recalls both '60s icon Donovan and Leaonard Cohen in his second album, Mother Earth

West Coast folk musician Brett Wildeman, whose second recording Mother Earth is a document of his wanderlust, carries on the decades-old B.C. troubadour tradition.

Wildeman’s candid acoustic-based sound has been dubbed “raw folk” perhaps because the songs are pared down to essentials.

As in classic folk style, the acoustic guitar lays down the path and so it is with Wildeman’s songs. Vocally, Wildeman’s mellow delivery recalls Donovan after a rough night out on the town and thus feels both familiar and charming. His laid back feel is ideal for story songs or anything narrative-based.

Because Wildeman doesn’t push it, his lyrics are sometimes under-represented and deceptive. The Story has images that recall a dark murder ballad.

Other tracks are atmospheric groove-folk with gentler themes. Dearest Friend and Our Fathers lean on sentiment via clever word play. Then it’s back to the darker travelogue. Life’s Storm contains poetic hooks set to a moody thrum and the Cohen-toned Brooks, Alberta is a sardonic take on the historical passage of that town…interesting and tongue-in-cheek.

The cheerfully blunt character of Wildeman’s material is cleverly laid out in Foreign Affairs. His creative imagery veils pointed political commentary in an unadorned critique.

With a voice that’s friendly and warm, Wildeman captures disparate themes with candour and eases a listener into attention.

Brett Wildeman leaves his home on the Sunshine Coast to tour British Columbia. He plays tonight at The Talkin’ Donkey at 8 p.m. The Talkin’ Donkey is at #1, 5400-24th St., Vernon. For more details, call 250-545-2286.

Dean Gordon-Smith is a musician in the North Okanagan and longtime music reviewer for The Morning Star, appearing every Friday.