Declan O'Donovan 'Self-titled' - Self-Released

This keyboard playing Canadian songwriter has one of those voices that has a raw rough edge that finds comparison with other gruff-larynxed warblers. He fronts a trio of musicians that includes guitar, drums and upright bass and this quartet is embellished by percussion and brass that give the album a late-night feel for O'Donovan's blend of blues, jazz and subtle gypsy overtones. Not an album that may appeal to a lot of the more country-oriented listeners but one that has integrity and is not without its attractions.

O’Donovan is a strong songwriter and his song Cheap Souvenir, featured here, won him a recent songwriting award which backs up his potential. That his voice has depth and grit can only further help to bring him listeners in his native Canada. Whether that translates across borders depends on a number of things that are often unpredictable but there's no doubting the man has a talent, even if its one that is a little broader that our usual remit. He is more direct and accessible than Tom Waits, to whom he has been compared, but his combined talents should see this album finding fans with those who come across it on their travels through both Canada and websites.