Some music merely soundtracks, but Ryan MacGrath's solo collection creates atmosphere, mood and tone. Akin to the theatrical pop melodies of Rufus Wainwright, Hawksley Workman and Beirut, MacGrath opens In My Own Company with the whimsically romantic "Bell Boy." With flourishes of glockenspiel, percussion and accordion, it's hard not to be whisked away into this songwriter's fanciful fiction.
Recorded with Don MacKay at Spaces Between Sound Studio, "Way West" pays an orchestral homage to the traditional folk odes of Western wealth. More pensive than poetic, "Cinderella" is a rewrite of the happy-ending myth, accompanied by a striking violin and ethereal lap steel. Departing from the fantastical, "Featherweight" crashes through the dreamy record with handclaps, banjo, synth and plenty of vocals, while the piano-driven ballad "Run" is riddled with existential queries. MacGrath questions the meaning of home, loss and love. The heavy-hearted stroll "No More Tears" wanders through a rainy day (recorded raindrops and all), but builds spirit with the warming notes of a trombone. It's the final portion of the song that will raise broken souls and make hearts believe in love again. MacGrath celebrates the release of In My Own Company January 16 at the Seahorse.