Canadian folk singer Ken Dunn has been traveling the world and telling stories for 30 years. A talented songwriter and accomplished guitarist, Ken’s bluesy finger-picking style and philosophical musings have entertained audiences across Canada, the U.S., and Central America. Over the years he has shared the stage with folk and roots icons as diverse as Jerry Jeff Walker, Willie P. Bennett, Valdy, Mike Beck, Roy Schneider, Pi Jacobs, and Garnet Rogers.
“Ashes in the Morning” is Dunn’s latest album, released 5/1/20. The nine song collection finds the songwriter examining the current sorry state of the world and what humans have done to it. With a uniquely Canadian point of view, Ken explores themes of political strife, social injustice and especially climate change. However, it’s not all doom and gloom. The artist’s goal is to find common ground on which we can all fight the good fight together.
I feel very passionate about this record which I view as a clarion call to embrace love, compassion, hope, gratitude, and non-violent activism as positive change agents in this unprecedented and challenging era of COVID-19, climate change, species loss, and upheaval on so many levels. I hope the music contained herein serves to inspire positive change both within yourself and the fragile world we share.Ken Dunn
The environment is a central theme of the record, which is highlighted by the opening tracks “King High Tide” and “Come Back Joni.” On the latter, Dunn conjures fellow Canadian and folk legend Joni Mitchell as a metaphor for a better path. “Talking Tales of Wandering” is an almost Science Fiction-like fantastical tale of humanity coming out stronger on the other side of our many currently simmering disasters. The songs that follow; “Red and Purple Too,” “Deep in the Hive” could be viewed as blueprints for those future humans. Each song shares lessons learned about how to treat one another and the world around us.
“Doomed” is a real highpoint. It is at once the most dire, and most upbeat song on the record. As the title suggests, it is folk music for the apocalypse. However, it is ironically the happiest song. Even if all hope is lost, we can all have a little fun in watching the world around us collapse. Or as the man says, “We are doomed, but that’s okay. We can always play this song.”
Musically, the album features the artist’s expert guitar playing front and center. From Celtic folk and waltz rhythms to the Delta blues bends of tracks like “Water is Life” and “Laughter in your Veins,” this is the sound of a man more comfortable with guitar in hand than not. Throughout the record he is accompanied by a crack team of studio musicians. Vocalist Anna Green, violinist Tyler Beckett and drummer Mark Mariash are particularly shining. Each adds rich nuance to the album from start to finish.
Ken Dunn’s “Ashes in the Morning” is a beautiful and thought-provoking work. You can find the album on all major streaming services. Follow the links below to connect with the artist, and listen to “Doomed” on the Deep Indie Dive playlist.