Home Read Albums Of The Week: Bywater Call | Remain

Albums Of The Week: Bywater Call | Remain

The Toronto blues-rockers raise the stakes — and give everyone from Black Crowes to Tedeschi Trucks Band a run for the money — on their outstanding second album.

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THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Formed in 2017, Toronto’s Bywater Call have quickly become one of the most highly anticipated live acts in the Canadian and international blues/roots music scene. Their distinctive sound features a seamless blend of rock, Americana and soul, and is highlighted by the explosive vocal talent of lead singer Meghan Parnell. With unparalleled musical craftsmanship, the seven-piece band masterfully communicate through not only their lyrics, but also their sound.

With the release of their debut album at the end of 2019, Bywater Call made a significant impact within their genre. Parnell was a featured performer at Toronto’s Women’s Blues Review, while the band earned Maple Blues Award and Independent Blues Award nominations.

Remain, their sophomore album, marks a new chapter for the band, showcasing their growth as a group while staying true to their core values of emotion-driven lyrics and the highest quality musicianship. Produced by Juno nominee Renan Yildizdogan and engineered by Emmy-winning, Juno-nominated engineer Ross Hayes Citrullo (Sheepdogs, Marianas Trench), the album was recorded in just four days at Jukasa Studio outside of Hamilton, with finishing touches added at Ross’s own studio, RHC Music, in Toronto.

Filled with stories both deeply personal and imagined, Remain is a powerfully moving collection of songs that highlight their exceptional talent as musicians, songwriters, and vocalists. Marking a notable departure from their preferred way of refining their work, the group were unable to perform their latest music in front of an audience until recently. This eliminated the road-testing method the band has typically enjoyed. With songs written about experiences of love, loss, happiness, along with encouraging tracks intended to inspire, Remain stands out as a project that showcases their evolution both as a group and individual artists.

The title track is a ballad about the loss of love due to distance, both physical and emotional. From its delicate and sparse beginning to its musically powerful end, Remain flawlessly uses both its lyrics and instrumentation to tell the story of an unwillingness to move on. Parnell’s exceptional vocal ability stands out, while fitting in like an additional instrument to the song. With lead track Left Behind, the band adds elements of Roots-Rock to their new project. A southern swamp, easygoing, and encouraging track about going for what you want, the percussion filled single is a gentle nudge at changing one’s situation. Soulful ballad Locked starts with a delicate church organ and builds into a soaring anthem, rooted in traditional Blues sensibilities with modern elements. The song features a raw, intimate, and delicate vocal, and builds towards a moving musical and vocal climax. The pandemic inspired love song is focused on Parnell and Barnes’ isolation during Covid.

The album closes with Bring it Back, a hopeful, upbeat anthem filled with memorable guitar licks, an energetic solo, rousing horns, and Meghan’s soaring and gritty vocals. A natural closing tune, Bring it Back is an encouraging tune about standing up for what you believe in, closing the album on a spirited high note that leaves listeners wanting more.

With their exceptional ability to intricately fuse together a variety of musical genres, detailed musicianship, and unparalleled vocals, Bywater Call profoundly take the blues/roots genre by storm with their latest project. Capturing a variety of emotions through storytelling and musical mastery, the band celebrates their growth as artists on Remain. Offering listeners comfort and encouragement in the way only the most talented of artists can, Bywater Call’s Remain is an exquisite expression of artistic growth by the band.”