The Guardian Review: A debut album that’s sure to delight

The apple never falls far from the tree.

Like father, like son.

He’s a chip off the old block.

Dylan Guthro is bound to hear those tired, old clichés a great many times over the next few years as more and more people are exposed to his music and attempt to draw favourable comparisons between him and his father, award-winning singer-songwriter Bruce Guthro.

The comparisons may, I suspect, become mildly tiresome after a while, but, hopefully, he will take them in the spirit in which they are intended because, for the most part, they will be offered up with the best of intentions.

And frankly, they’re not far from the truth.

Guthro’s debut release, All That’s True, is one of the strongest debut albums I’ve heard this year, a harbinger, hopefully, of many fine records to come.

That this record holds such promise should not come as a great surprise to anyone who has watched the younger Guthro grow up and begin to develop his craft.

He picked up his first guitar at the age of four and began learning to play. By the age of 15 he was playing his own songs in a band drawn from his own circle of friends. And he has been honing his chops on the road with his father for years, playing everywhere from Celtic Colours and the Stan Rogers Festival to the Tonder Festival in Denmark.

Along the way he has evolved into a formidable young talent, something which will quickly become evident to anyone who hears this record.

Dylan Guthro is the real deal. He’s a fine songwriter, writing with a maturity that at times seems beyond his years.

He wrote four of the record’s 11 songs on his own and co-wrote the other seven. His father shared the writing credits on five of the remaining tracks. His sister, Jodi, was also involved, sharing the writing credits on three. In addition, he collaborated with Breagh MacKinnon, Barbara Cameron and Kristen Andersen.

Guthro’s music is relatively diverse, embracing the folk/roots music of his native Cape Breton but also incorporating more contemporary pop and rock influences.

His writing is honest, sincere and, at times, very touching. He’s a perceptive, insightful writer but also has a keen sense of humour, which is showcased on a bit of fun called Mary Jane.

Guthro is also a highly versatile musician, as impressive wailing on an electric guitar on something with some grit to it as he is picking out something a little more intricate and complex on an acoustic.

As a singer he’s blessed with an instrument that many will find appealing. He has power when he needs it and a really nice vocal range. It’s a very easy voice to listen to. At times he sounds like a cross between Jack Johnson and Stephen Bishop. Here and there his tone reminds me of Graham Nash, whose voice I absolutely love. And once in a while he even sounds a little like his father.

There are songs on this record I found myself listening to over and over again, simply because the vocals were just so bloody good. His duet with MacKinnon on Sing to Me is one of those songs. Thinkin of You, which kicks off the record, and Love Takes Priority, which closes the record, are two others that had that effect on me.

All That’s True was recorded at Dave Gunning’s Wee House of Music studio with Gunning and Bruce Guthro serving as co-producers. Both also played on the record. Slowcoaster’s Brian Talbot played drums on these sessions, and there’s some beautiful cello work from Kevin Fox.

All That’s True is an impressive debut album from an artist with a very bright future ahead of him.

Choice cuts on this set include Thinkin’, Quicksand, Sing to Me, Canso and Love Takes Priority.

by Doug Gallant