In the sea of musicians clogging up the airwaves, it's sometimes hard to pick out the real thing from all the also-rans. Country music is no different than pop or any other genre. It seems like anybody with a twang in their voice is cutting records or invading TikTok these days. The problem is while they may have the look or the perceived sound down perfectly, the material is as hollow as a slinky.
The antithesis is Desiree Dorion. Desiree, a proud member of the Opaskwayak Cree Nation, is an independent singer-songwriter from Western Canada who has carved out a sizeable niche for herself in the country's music scene. Previous releases have garnered a Juno (Canada's Grammy) nomination as well as a Songwriter of the Year award from the Manitoba Country Music Association, while charting high in various parts of the country.
Her new record, That's How I Know, is an entertaining assortment of songs that are anchored by a real sense of believability. The subject matter comes across as totally authentic, like she just put her diary to music. She has a gorgeous voice that is both fragile and powerful and you listen for every word.
The title track gets things going with an upbeat melody and a celebration of being somebody's special someone. "It's not always sunshine, colors and rainbows but you hold my heart and that's how I know." The range of material, lyrically speaking, keeps the record interesting. There is the light-hearted track, "Sometimes I Drink", where she declares that on occasion she "likes a glass of wine on a Friday night. Forget about the bills and chill. Forget about everything. I've been carrying the weight of the world. I deserve a night with the girls."
"One More" laments being apart from loved ones while "I Meant What I Said" talks about working through a challenging relationship. Despite the bouncy melody, "Your Last Name" is about the ashes of a love grinding to a halt while the darkly beautiful "Love You to Death" talks about a goodbye to someone battling alcoholism.
That's How I Know is a winner on all counts: good material and good performances. The songs are entertaining, highly memorable and tell good stories. As an independent artist, hopefully more doors will continue to open for Desiree Dorion.
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