As far as classic guitar folk goes, no one in Edmonton is so virtuose as the young Braden Gates. His breed of folk music is that familiar American finger picking kind that tilled the hearts of a generation that woke up as if from a stupor of violence and senseless instrumental rationality. This is exactly what our generation needs, though who knows if it will break through in the same shape. Nevertheless, this is a sound that echoes robustly in a democratic spirit. It is a gentle immediate music that pulls you softly through modernity’s unique disorientation. It is transcendental, in the same sense Whitman or Emerson was.
Gates plays guitar with a precision and delicacy that can carry the song on its own. The humanity and Canadian inflection of his voice enhances this aesthetic further yet. As a performer, Gates is a pleasure. That he was able to put this stage talent to record without shortcoming is a blessing to us all. If there is any room for growth, it is in lyricism. His lyrics are no impasse in enjoying this record, but as experience accrues to this precocious song writer surely his yarns will thicken to surpass this already gilded standard in folk writing. Perhaps he will stumble on his first Whitman or Emerson poem. Can you imagine?!