| Henry Small|
CD review: TIME
By: Dan Brisebois
He first earned a reputation as a vocalist with a strong presence in The Group, and later recorded with Gainsborough Gallery, then Scrubbaloe Caine with ex-Guess Who bassist Jim Kale and Paul Dean(later of Streetheart and Loverboy). But Henry Small may best be known to some as the former singer for Prism, appearing on the 1981 album SMALL CHANGE and its monster hit penned by Bryan Adams & Jim Vallance – “Don’t Let Him Know”. But that’s about to change.
With TIME, his new INDEPENDENT release, the BC native is establishing himself as a seasoned veteran in Canadian rock music, full of stories and insights left untold. From the acoustic intro of the lead-off track “King Of Fools” co-written with Ken Rose, we’re given a taste of the mature songwriting evident throughout the CD. “Kiss It” has a sarcastic twinge to what’s already a fine piece of work. What’s NOT to like about a song whose lyrics include ‘You’re hurting me and I don’t know why – so kiss my ass goodbye’ ?
Henry produced the disc himself at his studio in Kamloops, featuring a superb supporting cast – Kevin Ishida, Ken Lawson and Brad Hampton, who pulls double duty, also the band’s webmaster. All three shared in the song-writing and these guys really gel together in the studio, from the tender “Will I Still Be In Your Heart” to the haunting “Out Of The Darkness” and the slick guitar-work in “Ride The Wave”.
The title-track starts out almost restrained, building into a charged-up insightful statement. In the end you’re asking yourself about your own moral convictions after hearing the religious and political uncertones in the song. The sobriety of “Land Of Dreams”, “Walk Away” and “The Truth” give light to one of Canada’s most under-rated writers.
There’s a lot of emotion and personal experience in the disc, evidenced in “Place In The Sun”, a sort of autobiographical account of years of highs and lows in music and in life. Tight hooks and flowing rhythms are sprinkled throughout – “Long Way To Paradise” serves as one of the most potentially best AOR singles in recent memory. Thought-provoking and insightful, it’s uptempo acoustically-driven beat easily fits into any adult radio station playlist in the country.
In total there’s a dozen well-crafted tracks, guaranteed to please an adult contemporary audience – and anyone that appreciates well-written pieces – full of tight melodies and catchy hooks.