[Album Review] Northey Valenzuela

For Craig Northey’s next project, he teamed up with Jesse Valenzuela from the… Gin Blossoms? Yeah, I had not thought about them in almost 30 years too. And, It is a good thing I looked them up before writing this because I had them confused with Goo Goo Dolls. For the record, Gin Blossoms are the Hey, Jealousy guys.

Easily the biggest song to come from Northey Valenzuela is Not A Lot Goin’ On, which became the theme song for Corner Gas, Canada’s most successful sitcom until Schitt’s Creek and Kim’s Convenience arrived. It is a good theme that fit the show very well, and as much as I like the song, there are plenty of other tunes here that I enjoy better.

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Something Good is certainly one of them. The keyboard on it had me scanning the liner notes for Garth Hudson’s name, the legendary keyboardist from The Band. Turns out it wasn’t Garth, but Simon Kendall, the longtime keyboardist for Doug and The Slugs. Pretty cool! I was also impressed by the way the instruments are layered on The Little Things. The subtle accordion had me envisioning The Band once again. Once again, I find Simon Kendall is responsible for it.

Colin James also makes a couple of appearances, providing the guitar solos for Slow Goodbye and Counting On You. Counting on You is very Beatles with a jangly George Harrison-like guitar and a Lennon/McCartney signature bridge. But James adds some hard-rocking blues, giving it an edge. It feels as if The Heartbreakers are covering a song ripped right from Rubber Soul.

Halfway to Happy is another notable track. Its sleazy vibe sports Northey’s signature sharp lyrics:

I think together,
We have what it takes,
I’m good at solutions,
and you’re good at mistakes

Plus, Simon Kindall kills it on the keys, once again.

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I hate to say it, but the only thing that holds Northey Valenzuela from perfection for me are the songs where Valenzuela takes the lead. See Through Heart, She Belongs, and Hurting On The Outside are good songs. I just didn’t enjoy them as much as Northey’s. Both artists are locked into an Americana-roots rock-heartland vibe, so they do complement each other well. I just prefer Northey’s laid-back like Tom Petty delivery over Valenzuela who is more of a John Mellencamp that can Julio Iglesias.

4/5

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7 thoughts on “[Album Review] Northey Valenzuela

  1. Another one I never knew that existed Kev. Things I learned is that these album features a sleazy vibe and a Mellencamp and Julio mashup!

    Like

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