Lynn Harrison's Reviews


Recent Festival Performance review:

"...A storyteller of the heart and about the heart."
- Lynn Harrison at Winterfolk '09

Read the entire Tricia Myles review here.

"These songs and recordings are simply exquisite. Like all fine poetry the simple words plumb real depths of the human condition. The vocals, guitar, bass, accordion, harmonica and piano are all beautifully supportive of the work. Lynn Harrison and David Woodhead have produced an excellent CD." ["Simplicity"]

- Mark Anderson, "Faithful Folk", NY

"Simplicity it may be in musical terms--just Lynn's pure voice and her guitar, but these songs carry complex themes and messages that stop you in your tracks--particularly if you happen to exhibit some of the traits she examines in human behaviour. A mature achievement."

- Tony Copple, "Window of Opportunity" - CKCU 93.1 fm, Ottawa

"Thank you Lynn for your wonderful musical composition. 'When I'm on the Water' eloquently evokes the serenity and wonder of paddling through the lakes and streams of Canada's wilderness. Thank you for sharing your beautiful music with us and, in doing so, helping us reach more youth who can benefit from wilderness canoe trips."

- Pegi Dover, Executive Director, Project C.A.N.O.E.

"Like comedian Jerry Seinfeld, Lynn Harrison directs our attention to the everyday experiences of our lives, sans comedic intent but with a practiced guitar accompaniment that lends colour and charm to her stories."

- Steve Andersen, Keyboards, "First Impression"

"Wow! Lynn Harrison performed live in our studio. She is such a pro. This lady deserves to be a household name."

- Jim Marino, CFMU, Hamilton

"One of the best music/art experiences I've had in a long time. Thank you for your passion."

- Audience Member, Hugh's Room, "Broadview" CD release concert.

"Lynn's music gets to the essence of what life is all about."

- Charles Adler, Global Television

"That was beautiful!"

- Shelagh Rogers, after Lynn's live performance on CBC Radio One "Sounds Like Canada".

"Lynn has the knack of writing a three minute song about one moment in time that most people miss. She's one of my favourite performers."

Brian Gladstone - Founder, Winterfolk Roots & Blues Festival, Toronto, Ontario

['Broadview' is...] "A wonderful collection of life's snapshots set to beautiful melodies...vivid, provocative and intimate. If someone wanted to catch an aural glimpse of western life in the early 21st century, they need only spin your disc."

Andy Frank - CIUT 89.5 FM Toronto

"A very impressive CD merging intelligent and meaningful lyrics with fine melodies."

Doug Dick, WVGN, Virgin Islands

"One cannot help but be touched by her music."

"Listening to Lynn perform is like being allowed to open the door to her heart and peer inside. Her insight and perspective on life is laced with wisdom and a mother's love and one cannot help but be touched by her music."

Mark Matthews, Stage Manager of Little Dover Stage
Stan Rogers Festival 2004, Canso, Nova Scotia.

"Charming, positive, uplifting and life-affirming songs"

Lynn Harrison - Learning Curve
Review by Les Siemieniuk - Penguin Eggs, Autumn 2003

This is Lynn Harrison's sophomore recording. The Toronto-based, Winnipeg-raised and Texas-born songwriter is an anomaly in the world of singer-songwriters. Refreshingly she doesn't seem to have any angst, no broken heart and is just getting on with everyday life.

The stuff that some treat as mundane and unimportant in the grand scheme of things, yet it is what most of us spend our lives doing-normal everyday things like dealing with the tooth fairy's absentmindedness or realizing we haven't kept in touch because we've "been busy".

And as someone who has often made the in-the-dead-of-winter trek to Winnipeg from comparatively balmy Calgary, because of family, Yes It's Cold in Winnipeg strikes a wonderfully funny and real chord.

In Spite of It All is a lovely view of life that says: In spite of it all, all the ways we can lose/we can find a bed of roses deep inside these blues. Raising kids and sending them off to school for the first time-this is not the stuff of singer-songwriters. Well, maybe it should be more often.

Lynn's lovely and welcoming voice is once again aided with the production help of David Woodhead on Learning Curve. David plays bass, mandolin, guitars & keyboards and is joined by Al Cross (drums), Kim Ratcliffe and Ray Montford (electric guitars), Anne Lindsay (violin), David Matheson (guest vocals) providing for a classy folksy pop sound for Lynn's charming, positive, uplifting and life-affirming songs.

What's On Disc - Toronto Star

(The following was on the same page as a Bruce Cockburn review and a Metallica review!)

Toronto singer-songwriter Harrison's debut is a set of earnest and quite pretty songs in the country-folk vein aboutcontemporary urban life, motherhood, love and longing, enhanced by some expert production touches from bassist David Woodhead andsome fine playing by drummer Al Cross, guitarist Kim Radcliffe and fiddler Anne Lindsay. The opener, "Whan I Walk (I Run)" is the most appealing track for its defiant spirit and memorable chorus , and though some pieces wander a little too eagerly into garden-variety, CBC friendly Canadiana, the overall impression Harrison creates is of a confident and well seasoned performer who is unafraid to reach into the darker parts of her heart for buried treasure.

- Greg Quill, Toronto Star

Lynn Harrison's latest CD shows that her "Learning Curve" is definitely on the rise! - CFMU, Hamilton

On the 12 tracks, all creations of Lynn's, she has opened her heart and mind to us. Yes, she has really taken off on this, her second CD, demonstrating her ability to write catchy tunes with pleasing personal story lines that make everyday life become what it should be--IMPORTANT!

The hauntingly beautiful "I've Been Busy" and uplifting first track "When I Walk" show us views of our own life that we only wish we could have put into perspective half as well. The musical landscape "Tall Trees" takes one back to the times they enjoyed their favourite areain the country (remember?).

Many tracks such as "Maybe I Was Wrong", "1st Day of School" are tender glimpses into Lynn's life that leave you softly smiling. There is even a Christmas-flavoured song reflectingon her Texas-Winnipeg-Toronto roots that lets your imagination soar. My personal favourite is "Laugh Myself To Sleep", a song that helped many get through 9/11. All of these originals are positive and uplifting, revealing Lynn's desire to let us in on the latest gratifying direction in her life. The songs have a "timeless" quality that will make fans of folk and pop recognize her as a wonderful new talent.

Lynn's beautifully clear, welcoming voice on this album gives you a warmth seldom found. David Woodhead's usual amazing production and tasteful arranging along with some of Canada's finest musicians have kept Lynn and her stories in the forefront and have made "Learning Curve" a must have!

"A Consistent, Positive, Sensitive Album"

- Jim Marino,
Freewheeling Folk Show,
93.3 CFMU
Hamilton Ont.

"Finally, this is a songwriter who dares to be different by daring to be normal."

"The most extraordinary thing about the songs on Lynn Harrison's CD, "Learning Curve," is the fact that they are so ordinary. This in no way should be considered an insult, Harrison is truly able to capture the moments in the lives of ordinary people and bring them to life. Whereas so many song writers craft tales of exceptional circumstances that, while engrossing and entertaining, are completely beyond the scope of experience of the average listener, Lynn Harrison does not bother with creating art for art's sake, she's content to craft gentle and moving tales that dare to be sensitive and honest about every day life.

Who can't relate to songs like "I've been busy," and "1st day of school," which perfectly captures the pride a mother feels on this magical day in a child's life "I will wave goodbye a baby/ I will welcome home a friend."

Another pleasant surprise about "Learning Curve," is that it is absolutely brimming with positivity and optimism. There are no sad tales of love gone wrong, instead, a portrait of someone who seems genuinely happy and willing to share that feeling. The opening track, "When I Walk (I Run)," shows that Harrison is able to create an upbeat and effective melody that suits the writer's attitude towards life "Used to find me standing round/ Used to spin my wheels/ Now I walk and I know/ I'm getting somewhere/ And I like how it feels." Lynn Harrison is a welcome change from the songs of pain and sorrow all too common amongst contemporary female singer/songwriters. Finally, this is a songwriter who dares to be different by daring to be normal."

- Jeff Robson, CJUM-FM, Winnipeg, Manitoba

"Lynn Harrison has been a writer for Sesame Street and now she's a singer-songwriter. Hurray! She's a good one. Lynoleum, her debut album, is a wonderful collection of quirky, sensitive and just plain real songs. David Woodhead produced this album and has done a tasteful job of bringing out Harrison's beautifully clear and wonderful voice. Lynoleum, it's a new and welcome addition to the Canadian folk music scene."

- Les Siemieniuk, Penguin Eggs Magazine

"Lynn Harrison's powerful songwriting skills shone in the beautiful "Tall Trees" and "Smooth Stones". Lynn is a relatively new performer in the Ontario folk community and gives a very polished and professional performance."

- Lillian Wauthier, Fiddles and Frets music

"Harrison fuses k.d. lang crooning with Cowboy Junkies earthiness to create a sound that is distinctly her own, sometimes seductive, sometimes somber, but always gilded with an acute sense of optimism."

- Scott Carman, "The Daily Graphic", Portage la Prairie, MB

"She possesses a beautiful, full bodied and crisp voice that is a pleasure to hear. Her writing is fresh and clean. The maturity shows in both the writing and singing. She just seems to know what works."

- Sheree Morrow, "Rambles"

"You likely depend on a few favourite CDs to get you through the household chores. Consider "Lynoleum" by Lynn Harrison: The music is grounded in folk and pop, and the everyday-life-experience songs make for mellow, easy listening.

- Canadian House and Home Magazine

"A driving beat still sounds good in a Studebaker"

David Menzies
National Post

So there I was, sitting with singer and guitarist Lynn Harrison in the vast expanse that is the front seat of a 1959 Edsel Ranger, listening to a pair of her songs, When I Walk I Run and Maybe I Was Wrong (both of which can be found on Ms. Harrison's new CD, Learning Curve.) A joy ride? Not quite. Rather, I was attending the world's first CD release party to be staged entirely within ... automobiles.

While Ms. Harrison's CD is new, the vehicles were of the vintage variety, including a pair of Studebakers, a Plymouth Deluxe, a Ford Two Ton tow truck and a Chevrolet fire engine (all of which were considerably older than the 1990 Honda Civic Ms. Harrison drives). Since all the vehicles were manufactured prior to the compact disc era (let alone 8-track tapes) each set of wheels was fitted with a ghetto blaster, which dutifully played two different cuts from Learning Curve.

Personally, I couldn't help but chuckle at the ironic titles of When I Walk I Run and Maybe I Was Wrong given that these songs were emanating from the turquoise-hued Edsel Ranger. After all, about a half century ago, the car-buying public did indeed walk (if not run) from Edsel dealerships. Given that Edsel was intended as Ford's up-market automobile brand, the Ford brain trust certainly got the execution wrong -- no maybes about it. (Edsel debuted in 1958, was mothballed in 1960 and lives on today as a synonym for either "flop" or "lemon.")

Still, the question begs: Why was Learning Curve debuting inside the interiors of several aged automobiles? It turns out the one-of-a-kind CD launch was actually the brainchild of publicist/music buff/automotive aficionado Laura Lind.

"To me, music just sounds so much better in cars than, say, bars," says Ms. Lind, who purposely wanted the songs to be showcased in classic automobiles "because they [older cars] have so much style and have such great colours. And they're so big inside, so I think they probably have better acoustics" than modern cars.

While some might argue there is not much of a connection between automobiles and music, Ms. Harrison begs to differ. "Music and cars are very powerful when put together," says the Dallas native who now lives in Toronto. "For me, driving is all about the songs -- if I love the song, I love the driving. I've even been known to write songs while I've been driving, which should be illegal, I suppose."

One need only consider the ongoing advances in car audio equipment to realize the importance some people place on mobile sound. These days, a car stereo system can easily exceed the cost of the car itself -- a lesson I learned a few years ago when I was given the opportunity to sit in a Volkswagen Beetle that had been obscenely enhanced with a $28,000 audio system. (Not the most practical option, alas, given that the Bug was completely bereft of its back seat and all its trunk space thanks to all the stereophonic components.)

Surely there is some sort of scientific explanation for the way fast music induces fast driving. I not so fondly recall a colossal speeding ticket I received in 1986 that I still blame on the frenetic Billy Idol tune Dancing With Myself. (I subsequently nicknamed the song I Can't Drive 155 given that whenever I acquired speeding tickets, it always seemed that Mr. Idol's pedal-to-the-metal ditty was emanating from my CRX's speakers.)

Yet, even when cars and music are looked upon in isolation, Ms. Harrison maintains that both are essentially vessels facilitating journeys. It goes without saying that a car's raison d'etre is to transport its occupants from Point A to Point B. Yet, music has the power to transport people as well, given that a meaningful song can induce the listener to achieve a different state of mind. "For me, music is almost always about going from one place to another," Ms. Harrison says. "Maybe it's not a physical journey, but a song can take you away to another place or even another time."

Certain music also has calming power -- an attribute that shouldn't be discounted in this day and age of road rage. In this regard, there is a bountiful selection of soothing ballads on Learning Curve. Case in point: On the way back to suburbia from the CD release party in downtown Toronto, traffic was -- surprise -- bumper to bumper on the Don Valley Parkway. Instead of silently gnashing my teeth and cursing my poor route choice, however, I took the opportunity to play Ms. Harrison's CD. Thanks to her lush albeit calming voice, I soon found myself attaining a state of blissful relaxation behind the wheel. (Music reviewer Scott Carman pretty much nailed it when he described Ms. Harrison's musical style as being a fusion of "k.d. lang crooning with Cowboy Junkies earthiness.") Thus, while stuck behind an appallingly dilapidated Chrysler LeBaron spewing blue smoke, I simply sat back and calmly listened to the song In Spite of It All. ("In spite of it all, I still find reasons to smile/In spite of it all, I think I'll be here for awhile.") Another ironic commentary, to be sure, given the prevailing gridlock. Yet, with this one tune alone, Ms. Harrison was able to prove to me that music indeed has the power to soothe the savage breast.

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