Jim Guthrie is my kind of man.
Quiet, a little obtuse, meek and more prosaic than Hemmingway. (Well, he’s getting there.) But alongside the sensitive traits lies a brave knight in shining armor who’s not afraid to step up and save the princess. How else can you explain a man from Guelph, Ontario who named his own growing indie record label, Three Gut Records, after his cutting childhood nickname, Jimmy Three Gut?
Guthrie started out simple, like most beginning musicians, plucking away at his guitar in his basement, cross-legged, experimenting with sounds. But after a few years, he allowed himself to become more exposed to a broader audience with what he had to offer. A member of Royal City, Guthrie abandoned the hyper bleeps of his Playstation-induced solo debut, 1999’s A Thousand Songs, to mellow, mature, bold fields with his third release, Now, More Than Ever. Guthrie’s latest proves he can bravely climb the ranks of being a great singer-songwriter without sacrificing his quirky charm.
Guthrie recruited his local chums — Owen Pallett and Mike Olsen from the Hidden Cameras and Bry Webb of soul-punkers the Constantines — to sit in on a few tracks with stings and banjo. These elements capture the delicate silver linings of the album. Along with Guthrie’s beautiful lyrics, Now, More Than Ever reminds me of a fairy tale fable. From opener “Problems with Solutions,” Guthrie is captivating through the end of the tenth track, the country-bumpkinish romantic ballad, “You are far (Do you exist?),” where he asks, “If I never hear you call/ Is it a small world after all?”
Now, I just have to wait for Guthrie, Mr. Knight-in-Shining-Armor, to save me. Don’t think it’s going to happen anytime soon. Better show more leg.