We’re All Leaving
There’s a song in there somewhere,’ sings Dave Gunning optimistically on his seventh album We’re All Leaving, but the Pictou County, Nova Scotia performer is being far too modest. Since debuting with Lost Tracks in 1997, Gunning has proven he can find a song just about anywhere–in childhood memories, local legends and the everyday lives of those around him–and turn it into something profound, honest and deeply moving. His ability to tell a story in song has resulted in six Music Nova Scotia Awards and three East Coast Music Awards (2008 Folk Recording, Male Artist of the Year for House For Sale, 2005 Folk Recording, Two-bit World), rousing welcomes from crowds at festivals and venues on both sides of the Atlantic and the admiration of Canada’s finest composers, a number of whom have become collaborators on We’re All Leaving. James Keelaghan, David Francey and Matt Andersen are among the co-writers who’ve helped to make every track a well-polished vignette, as well as the musician Gunning names as his MVP, guitarist Jamie Robinson, whose resume runs from accompanying Jimmie Rankin’s modern folk ballads to the globe-spanning pop/rock of Halifax’s MIR. Playing guitar, mandolin and piano, Robinson joined an all-star East Coast ensemble in bringing We’re All Leaving’s songs to life, including keyboardist Kim Dunn, drummer Adam Dowling and bassists Jamie Gatti and Bruce Dixon, with some vocal assistance from Bruce Guthro and Rose Cousins. The versatile guitarist’s ability to mesh modern and traditional sounds was a perfect match for Gunning’s desire to take a few steps forward on We’re All Leaving, weaving together a bigger story arc of the gradual exodus from the country to urban environments.