REVIEWED: Mary Stewart - "Chances Are I Like You"


Let me preface this review by saying that Chances Are I Like You is a fully competent album, loaded with nine sweet folk-pop tracks by a charming Nova Scotian chanteuse by the name of Mary Stewart.   She brings with her a solid resume of the acts she has had the pleasure to share the stage with (Jill Barber, Wintersleep, Jenn Grant and Blue Rodeo), all parts of an equation which should equal pure listening pleasure. 

It may have something to do with the fact that this album is a compilation of 9 tracks culled from 365 which were written one per day over a year and then which were voted on by fans via Mary’s website.  Which is something that even Mary admits in her bio that “..it is a snapshot of a year – and not necessarily a good one…”.  The album is a great introduction to Stewart’s sweet folk-pop stylings, but it doesn’t come off as a cohesive piece with a singular vision.   

The fact that Halifax is still recovering from East Coast Music Week, further compounds the primary issue on Chances Are I Like You, an issue that is even bigger than the lack of cohesion, which is the lack of identity on these nine tracks.   The album is produced beautifully and the vocals are clean and pretty, but they feel as if they could be sung by a dozen other singers and have a similar result, you would be hard pressed to walk in to a show and identify this material as Mary Stewart’s.  Fellow singer songwriters such as Jenn Grant, Christina Martin and Rose Cousins, all have such distinctly identifiable voices, that it is a shame that an album that is as beautifully produced and has such pretty and clean vocals feel as though they could be sung by any of another dozen singers and end up having a similar result.  You would be hard pressed to walk in to a bar or live show and identify this material as Mary Stewart’s.

Towards the end of the disc there is a pair of folk-pop gems “Erase and Rewind” and “I Don’t Want to Fight”, both of which are the highlight of Chances Are I Like You.  These tracks will cause your ears to perk up, prompting you to take notice, unfortunately the same can’t be said for the rest of the disc which fails to garner that same response; instead it just fades into the background and becomes aural wallpaper.  

Music (much like Art) is that it should resonate with the observer in some fashion, it should illicit some sort of emotional response, unfortunately that is just not the case here.   Aside from that pair of tracks towards the end of the album, the music quickly fades into the background and while that may not sound overly positive, look at it this way, Chances Are I Like You won’t have you reaching for the eject button.  

Mary Stewart on the web:


Website
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Writtten by Trevor Savory

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