Amy Millan is part of that Canadian indie consortium that features a rotating cast of musicians in various musical acts acts. Best known for her work in Broken Social Scene and Stars, Millan’s latest solo offering, “Masters of the Burial” allows her to explore her more folksy, country side, but the album features guest spots from several members of her musical family, including Leslie Feist and members of Stars, The Stills and Apostle of Hustle, among others.
“‘Solo work’ is a bit of a fib” Millan writes in the record’s press notes. “Without this community, the record would be a lonely, less interesting listen.”
Release Date: September 22, 2009
Millan says she penned the songs on “Masters” while in a state of limbo, when she was no longer touring but lacked a permanent place to stay and was calling friends’ couches home. She sounds world-weary on the album opener “Bruised Ghosts” and does her best Neko Case folk chanteuse impression on a cover of Sarah Harner’s “Old Perfume.” (The album also contains covers of songs by bluegrass artists Richard Hawley and Jenny Whiteley.)
The wistful “Low Sail” finds Millan promising, “Though we’re losing time / I’ll find my way back to you.”
Though the songs were written in Montreal, “Masters of the Burial” captures the feel of a sleepy Southern town, with mournful violins and twangy fingerpicking. But Millan knows how to play to her indie rock fans as well “" her country-tinged rendition of Death Cab for Cutie’s fatalistic lullaby “I Will Follow You Into the Dark” is more upbeat than the original and seamlessly incorporates a slide guitar.
Millan herself characterized the album as “the dark of nigh. It’s the sound of someone climbing into bed, the soundtrack of the time in between when the candle burns out and your dreams begin. “¦ Light the fire, pour up one more, draw the curtains and tuck in.”
Though the place she laid her head was only temporary, “Masters of the Burial” indicates that Millan made the most of the impermanence.