It’s been a while since we’ve heard from Andrew Shedden. The local musician went north in 2014, bound for work in the isolated First Nations community of Kashechewan. Better Off This Way represents Shedden’s first major output since the move, and indeed his most composed, professionally recorded music to date.
It’s a collection of lived-in blues and country, centred around Shedden’s guitar and vocals, but also featuring Rural Soul’s Sean Quinn on bass and acclaimed Peterborough bluesman Alan Black on drums and harmonica. It’s an album that paints Shedden as a wanderer, a dreamer, and a self-doubter, with songs that examine lost relationships, difficult transition points, and occasionally just the simple joys of performance.
Standout tracks include “Where I Am From,” notable for its seedy blues guitar and outlaw subject matter; the rollicking rockabilly number “Freight Train Blues;” the goofy boozy energy of “Sweet Summertime;” and the wistful closer “Train Rolling Home.”
Andrew Shedden’s Better Off This Way is available for purchase on iTunes.
All images courtesy the artist.