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Grey Lands

  • Grey Lands
  • Grey Lands


For his first album as Grey Lands, Wayne Petti returned to the musical country he came from. Songs By Other People is a solo album that isn't solo - Cuff the Duke's frontman reimagining the songs of others, with the help of others, everyone gathered in a warm, electric sound.

"I wanted to acknowledge where I had been, musically," Petti says. So there are songs by Bob Dylan and Buffy Ste-Marie, by Sloan and M Ward, all filtered through Petti's prism. The music is burred and confident, far noisier than Petti's previous work. And his choice of pals gives the material a scrappy quality: Blue Rodeo's Greg Keelor, shouting beside Petti on Dylan's "My Back Pages"; Sarah Harmer, coyly duetting on Lee Hazlewood's "Sand". All of these guests, from Keelor and Harmer to Joel Plaskett, Hayden and Randy Bachman, are musicians Petti has supped with or toured with or meandered alongside, over kind grey lands.

Maybe Songs By Other People is the sound of friendship. Not just the sound of friends playing together but the sound of affinity itself, of crisscrossing spirits. Maybe it's friendship, not feedback, that fills the corners of Grey Lands' songs. This ain't hokey, it ain't dumb mush: if lust can be captured on magnetic tape, or rage can, or regret, then surely friendship's allowed too. And is there any truer metaphor for love than singing the words of another person's song?

Even knowing the back-story, Grey Lands' ragged team-ups feel unexpectedly intimate, personal - pop-rock and psych-folk sent out clearly, sincerely, from player to listener. And for all its thunder and reverb, Songs By Other People is still a thing of loud melody: a classic's a classic for a reason, and Petti's never unfaithful to his best friends. These eight songs, this gang of co-conspirators - it's its own ringing, rowdy jukebox. Enjoy.

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