In the golden years of Canadian singer-songwriting, one may be likely to fine a rock poet-laurate luminary such as Joni Mitchell or Leonard Cohen riding the rails to find inspiration for a positively devastating ode to love, nature, abuse, or an intersection of all three. Contemporary Canadian singer-songwriter Morine Braun follows this honored tradition on the quite literal Through Train Windows, an album composed from the landscape and experience from which the album is so named. Although jazzier and less muted than the efforts of the older guard, Braun is nonetheless thoroughly reverent through her work, a hallmark of Canadian artistry if there ever was one.
Through the lens of the portal of the iron track, Through Train Windows offers quite a bit of chooglin’. Tracks like “Jerkwater Town” and “Climbing Table Mountain” illustrate the knee-jerk cabin fever one might experience on an environment such as a train. Other tunes spilled throughout the album are more lush and contemplative- simply put, more indicative of the mindset of one traversing through the endless boundaries of the Great North. Brain can seem all over the place with her songwriting, though this makes sense, she provides a literal map of her journey.
Through Train Windows may not be a revelatory adventure in troubadourism, but it’s honest and traditionalist music in many sense. From the cover of “Oh Canada” to the funky white soul of “Rue St. John,” there’s nothing on the record that seems inherently out of place. Instead, Braun’s album is merely the earnest interpretation of the contemporary culture of our Northern neighbors though the eyes of one denizen.