Published Feb 24, 2016Scottish-Canadian construction worker David Francey turned to music late, but has certainly made up for any lost time. This is his 11th album since 1999, and three Junos in his trophy case testify to his reputation on the folk scene.
Empty Train is another generally strong addition to that impressive discography. Co-producers Chris Coole (himself an acclaimed folk/bluegrass musician) and Mark Westberg both play on the record, alongside such top players as Darren McMullen, John Showman (New Country Rehab) and Rachel Davis (plus Francey's son Colin), but the focus throughout is on Francey's rich and resonant voice and well-crafted songs. This is classic folk, with just the occasional nod to country-folk (as on "Big Texas Moon") and bluegrass.
The final song, "Junkie's Heart", is something of a surprise, as Francey co-wrote it with John-Angus and Colin MacDonald of the Trews. It's no surprise that it's the most energetic tune here, though the lyrical theme of love as addiction is not a fresh one. More compelling is "Crucible," a powerful song dedicated to Francey's father and uncle, both WW2 veterans, and "Hospital," also inspired by his father. He flashes anger in the social commentary of "The Money Boys" and "Blue Girl." On Empty Train, Francey shows he's far from running on empty. (Laker Music)