The much-anticipated solo album of Slowcoaster rocker Steven MacDougall displays a side of this staunch Cape Bretoner which is seldom witnessed amid the full band’s bouncing stage. From the playful banter of “Little Miracle” to the haunting tale of “Stove Pipe” to its lilting title track, all of Spanish Bay provides a deeper sense of this talented writer and musician than we’ve heard before. He ushers in his intrinsic, honest lyrics with gentle piano and classical guitar. MacEachern’s words have an almost Michael Stipe feel; the songs have an enigmatic tone about them — at once sardonic, hopeful, sarcastic, despondent, cheerful. And after hearing many of the songs live for so long, it’s nice to just cuddle up and fade away with them.
—Norma Jean MacPhee