Artist: Marker Starling - I'll Be Around
Songs: I'll Be Around [The Spinners cover] + Shadows and Counterparts
Recorded at The Tranzac (Main Hall), January 13, 2018.
Chris Cummings' artistic ascendance continues with the release of his new Anchors & Ampersands album. Like its predecessor, a lot of the achievement here is in the selection of materials and the arrangements, but whereas I'm Willing fits into the classic "covers album" mould, its new companion is something more akin to a self-reappraisal, with several reduxed versions of older songs, now presented in all their widescreen glory with lusher arrangements and more confident vocals.
As in the past, Cummings returned to The Tranzac's Main Hall to use the floor to accommodate an extra-large ensemble — there were no fewer than sixteen musicians throughout the night (if I was able to keep track correctly!) with up to fourteen of them on stage at once. That meant augmenting the core unit (of Jay Anderson, Matt McLaren and Andrew Scott) with lush backing vocals (from Robin Dann, Ben Gunning and Alex Samaras, as well as special guests Ryan Driver and album producer Zack G) and a horn section (Jay Hay, Jeremy Strachan, Lina Allemano). And then to complete the spectacle, the members of opening band Bunny joined in for the set's last songs. All told, a worthy celebration of one of the city's best songwriters — and now with his back pages thoroughly re-examined, it's exciting to anticipate what's going to come next.