Very much a companion piece to last year’s similarly buoyant and optimistic ‘Heritage’, it continues Ron's celebration of his new life away from the cityscape of Toronto, and revels in the easy pace, and tranquillity of his new home in Stratford, Ontario.
The Vivian line itself is a route helping to connect his old and his new life. As Ron states “It’s also like a portal to my old life when I have to get back there.” So much to admire here, beginning with the exquisite ‘Place called Love’ which sees Ron at his wistful, melancholic best, with a dreamy, contemplation on that most sought-after human emotion.
Those who find kindness, never come back, They’re in a place called love Everyone finds it in their own time, you can lay down your burden and cry You’re in a place called love
‘What I had in Mind’ is a reflection on Ron’s school days, and past with an eye on a sunnier future. That idea of the apprehension of youth in facing years of education is caught beautifully as one looks at it through:
Diamond Wave’ is another mid-paced, bouncy, acoustic affair with a real feel-good factor.
You know our luck was bad for a little while, we were goin’ nowhere, but now we’re goin’ in style We got a smile for everyone we know and those we don’t. We’d been fallin’ down, but now we’re feelin’ good, and things are moving like we knew they would, Wow, I’m riding on a diamond wave
That feel-good factor, so on display in his previous offering as well, is tempered slightly by more introspective songs such as ‘Powder Blue’, the lovely ‘When our Love was New’ and the wondrous hymn to a love that has passed on, ‘Flower Boxes’.
Ron has written some amazing love songs in the past. He has a gift of being romantic, and deeply affecting, without straying into saccharine territory.
There is a nostalgic feel to the album and contentment in the grooves, but Ron is too smart a writer not to be self-aware and be able to poke fun at his own image in ‘Outdated and Antiquated’:
Outdated and antiquated, I belong in the past; they don’t make them like me anymore
Well thank goodness we have the original with us!
‘This, That, and the Other Thing ’ sounds like a funk song that Tilbrook and Difford from Squeeze would have loved to have written. ‘A barn Conversation’ complete with introductory bird and farmyard sounds and ‘Country Life are humorous side-way glances at country life:
We could sit on a fence until the cows come home, but the world’s just passing us by, doing a scarecrow dance beneath the great unknown, all I’m asking is why?
‘One Bird Calling’ is a mediation on how lucky he (We) are to have a roof over our heads, as he remembers a bird losing it’s nest in a storm. Simple joys and pleasures, which we shouldn’t take for granted. Earlier albums such as ‘Blue Boy’ and ‘Whereabouts’. Produced by Brad Jones, the sound is reminiscent at times of those earlier albums, with Ron’s deep melodious voice sounding better than ever. The songs are unapologetically short, snappy, classy pop songs
Lauded by Sir Paul McCartney, Elvis Costello, Chris Martin, and Emmylou Harris amongst a growing band of who’s who in the record industry, ‘The Vivian Line’ is another high-calibre entry into Ron’s hugely impressive body of work.
Ron is due to leave the pastoral bliss so on display on the album, and play dates in Ireland and the U.K. in April and May.
Do yourself a huge favour and go see. Go Hear.