There are a handful of Canadian lyricists writing songs this powerful. Few of them are under the age of 50; fewer still offer performances as artistically-charged as their writing. In his home country, Greg MacPherson shares a sparsely populated space saved for musicians who truly matter.
There is a certain authenticity in Greg MacPherson's music. Maybe it's the tremor in his voice, or his carefully crafted lyrics, or his unpretentious stage presence. To compare MacPherson to the likes of Johnny Cash, Tom Waits, and Bob Dylan would be blasphemy if it weren't for the combination of pure talent and sincerity in MacPherson's songs and performances. The voices of those great singer-songwriters are legendary in their distinctiveness. With his latest full-length album entitled Mr. Invitation (Smallman Records), Greg MacPherson distinguishes himself as one of the most compelling and distinctive voices in Canadian independent rock.
Greg was born in Sydney, Nova Scotia, but became a singer-songwriter in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Bands like The Clash, Talking Heads, and his brother's collection of records by great lyricists like Nick Cave and Leonard Cohen were MacPherson's earliest songwriting influences. Underlying his own music is a deep intimacy with this vast country, developed through his constant movement (having lived in seven of Canada's ten provinces). His music reflects the isolation and self-awareness of someone who comes from another place - never quite at home, but welcomed everywhere.
Beginning with the hopeful sounds of 1999's Balanced on a Pin, MacPherson has released four albums - three of those via G7 Welcoming Committee Records. Through these albums Greg has continually developed as a songwriter with an unrelenting passion, keen observational intelligence and a knack for writing songs that slowly gather strength, leaving his words etched in your mind. This is what Greg MacPherson does best - creating songs that speak to the complicated intimacies of intertwined lives. As such, Mr. Invitation is not a "statement" so much as a reminder of the intrinsic value of hope.
Mr. Invitation marks a newfound assuredness in Greg MacPherson's music, as his intentions have caught up with his aesthetic ambitions. He explains, "I do feel that this is the first time I have a recording that truly speaks with the force and soul of the material as I have always intended. As an artist I've struggled for years to find my voice in the language of recording. I've hit the mark or come close on many occasions, but not until this recording have I felt satisfied that my intentions as an artist have been fully realized by both the process and the results."
Greg MacPherson's passion is honing his craft. While Bob Dylan now sings by grumbling at audiences in packed stadiums, Greg has just found satisfaction in mastering his own voice. He is closing in on that gap that separates him from those other legendary voices.