THE COMMONERS - Find A Better Way
November 23, 2022, 6 days ago
(Gypsy Soul Records)
Citing The Black Crowes as “a considerable influence,” The Commoners from Toronto, Ontario beautifully meld blues, soul, and good old-fashioned rock ‘n roll into a warm and soothing musical experience. Although the roots-based band is pictured as a four-piece on the album cover – vocalist / rhythm guitarist Chris Medhurst, bassist Ben Spiller, lead guitarist Ross Hayes Citrullo, and drummer Adam Cannon – are joined by their friend, organist / piano player Miles Evans-Branagh on eight of the nine songs on this stunning, Southern rock inspired album.
Opening song and title track “Find A Better Way” features a special guest appearance from The Trews keyboardist Jeff Heisholt, and was mixed by Kevin “Caveman” Shirley (Aerosmith, Iron Maiden, Journey). What an inviting way to start an album! Put simply, “Fill My Cup” is irresistible. “More Than Mistakes” is reminiscent of under-rated mid-‘90s Canadian rockers, Buffalo Brothers. “Too Much” hits that sweet spot just right. “Naturally” marks the mid-point, thereby providing a mellow yet impactful interlude.
“I Won’t” is highlighted by pedal steel courtesy of Michael Ekhart, and sees The Commoners veering towards country music. “Deadlines” brings back the euphoric element found at the beginning of this record. Passing the seven-minute mark, “Hangin’ On Again” is by far the longest of the bunch, resonating as it builds. Rather than going out with a bang, The Commoners opt for a tender closer in the form of “Alive”. Whether full-on ripping or acoustic picking, authenticity and sincerity are undoubtedly the name of this alluring game.