Charlie Major has been an artist on the Canadian and international scene for almost 20 years now and shows no signs of slowing down. The story of Major getting his big break is a bona-fide legend in the music business, and proves the old adage, “where there’s a will… there’s a way.” After countless attempts to get his songs heard by recording artists the conventional way Major pulled an ingenious end-run and went through the tour-bus driver. Which in turn led to Ricky Van Shelton cutting and having an enormous hit with Charlie’s song “Backroads”, winning a BMI Award for the most played song in America in 1993. His star started rising and continues today. Countless awards and nominations for Junos, CCMAs, and numerous hit singles off 7 studio albums and Major continues to create new songs, as witnessed with his latest release, ‘On The Evening Side’. An album sporting 10 new Charlie Major works including the latest single, “Keep On Livin’”. Major has survived 3 label changes that I know of, initially signed to BMG he moved over to Nashville’s Dead Reckoning for a few albums and now his new CD is on Mike Denney’s MDM Recordings, making him labelmates with Chad Brownlee, Jess Moskaluke, Clayton Bellamy and Hayley..
While listening to the album I was struck not only by how his songwriting continues to evolve as he delves into new takes on old topics like love, death, heartbreak and loss, but how his instantly recognizable vocal style remains honest and unaffected. Like director Clint Eastwood, he never lets his personal style get in the way of a good story, or in this case, a strong emotion. Never fancy, but always honest and from the heart.
I was also struck by the production by Major along with Jason Barry. Barry has honed his skills as both a songwriter a guitarist and a producer and he and Major know their audience as they’ve crafted a solid Canadiana alt/country sound. Rootsy and basic but effectively supporting the lyric. Excellent musicianship from studio aces like Pete Wasner, John Dymond, Gary Craig, Doug Johnson, as well as some spice thrown in by some of Major’s solid road band, Dan Dejardins, Ken Kanwisher and Tyler Kealy. As well as lots of tasteful guitar from Jason Barry.
This new album should garner lots of airplay for Major. He can always be relied on to deliver solid, well-crafted songs. Standout tracks include ‘Still Running’, ‘Slippin’ Away’, ‘You’re My Lover Now’, ‘Keep On Livin’’ and the albums closer, the gentle title track.
Here’s to many more albums and continued success to Charlie Major.