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Nathan

Jimson Weed – 2004 (Nettwerk America)

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

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CDs by Nathan

The group Nathan may share Shania Twain's Canadian nationality, but the roots-y singing and songwriting of Keri McTighe and Shelley Marshall is nothing like Twain's high-powered pop-in-country's-clothing stylistic approach. The music is so quiet at times, in fact, it's as if these performers were afraid they'd wake Winnipeg's wildlife during one of those long prairie nights.

Many songs are driven by McTighe and Marshall's harmonic singing laid over a variety of musical backings. "Emelina" and "One Spend" bring to mind Dixieland, especially due to the trumpet part on the latter track. The title tune includes an accordion part, as does "Big Galoot," which give each of these songs a gypsy spirit. In other places, instances of banjo, Dobro and even a little electric guitar standout in the mixes.

Lyrically, regret is a common theme. On "Bad Ideas," they sing: "I'm going down the highway with a suitcase of all my bad ideas." And although the character in this song may have made a few questionable life choices, Nathan has unquestionably filled its album with a bevy full of admirable musical ideas. Maybe all those long and quiet Winnipeg nights weren't completely wasted after all, eh?