Shotgun Jimmie comes from the heart of the heart of the heart of New Brunswick. He plays from the heart of his heart. His guitar bounces gleefully, charges steadily forward. Your ears perk up and he starts singing about all his friends, who remind you of all your friends. His words are full of carefree consideration. He is a performer whose pronunciation of the word ‘stuff’ can be transcendent. On this, his third solo effort, everything has coalesced.
Recorded at Riverport’s Confidence Lodge, the production is pitch perfect. Rich and loose, everything jangles into place just in time to ramble forward: basslines chug assuredly, flutes swoop in and out of view, and guitars rise out of a swamp like a muddied phoenix. Tambourines and shakers hold the pulse.
His words are typically clever and inelegant: “They say that you are what you eat/And I feel like I musta ate a king” he sings on closer ‘Bar’s Closed’. The songs range from fond moments of reminiscence (‘The Haze’, with it’s not-so-subtle nod to David Berman), young loves (‘Suzy’) and the repose found in taking it all at face value (‘Transitor Sister’, ‘Masterpiece’).
Poised to make a break for it, Jimmie has made his most humble, earnest record to date. He’s found a new confidence; his songs are even sharper than usual. For brief moments, Transistor sounds heavy and thought provoking, but mostly it’s light and lovely. Sometimes it sounds like a classic Cars song, but mostly it sounds like one of Eastern Canada’s most charming performers growing more and more comfortable in that role.
There is so much more to say about Jimmie’s use of nature imagery and self-reflexive narrative, but a guy who uses the word ‘shitcreek’ on record probably doesn’t want us to spend time over-analyzing. After all, it’s a rock record. It won’t save your soul, it’ll just save you the trouble deciding which record you want to put on for the umpteenth time.