Published Sep 04, 2019Home is many things to a musician. It's a healing ground, a place of reflection, even of great inspiration. But for Leela Gilday, it serves a greater purpose on her newest effort, North Star Calling: a space for discussion and celebration of both her Dene heritage and a greater understanding of Canada's ever-growing need for reconciliation.
The production leans into a mix of folk and alt-country with darker accoutrements from Tanya Tagaq (a welcome addition, as always) on "Rolling Thunder" and the haunting presence of "Hard Ground" lending itself to a theme of loss and longing. This is made all the more evident on "K'eintah Natse Ju," a track chronicling the legacy of colonization and residential schools, leaving many families to deal with the aftermath of such devastation.
Optimism does find itself in the form of a love letter to Denedeh (the land of the Dene in the Northwest Territories) on "Falling Stars." It really shows off Gilday's ability as a pure songwriter and storyteller, she has a real strength and warmth on here. "Let It Roll" and "We Are Here" convey the importance of being a unified force, and that things can improve, even in the face of darkness.
Much like its title, North Star Calling is a guiding light, a beacon for those to find refuge. In times where many an uncertainty has no easy answer, this record finds beauty in the smallest of moments. "One heart can't hold everything," and much like the dedication of the title track, these songs will continue to help all those that need it. (Independent)