Quiet and unassuming, Jim Cuddy’s fourth studio album released on January 26 is a poetic and easy listen that once again proves how Jim has entangled himself in the fabric of the Canadian sound. Combining flavours of melodic country with folk, Constellation is the type of music that feels effortless and tied neatly together in a cohesive package. With a brassy guitar, simple drum beats, and Cuddy’s lovely, modest vocals, it’s no wonder why he has remained a Canadian musical icon synonymous with endless summer nights, outdoor concerts, and a warm coffee on a foggy-lake morning.
“While I Was Waiting” opens smoothly and upbeat with a Ron-Sexsmith-sounding guitar melody and a bright organ sound. Combining upbeat instrumentals with lyrics of sentimentality and love lost, this track sets the tone for the full album, which makes the listener familiar with this happy-sad juxtaposition.
Title track “Constellations” is perhaps a bit more haunting than the remaining tracks. With Cuddy’s voice backed only by strong piano chords, the lyrics speak for themselves: “I’m waitin’ for a sign from you.” Using the Canuck tradition of sharing emotion through the act of describing nature (in this case, the night sky, looking out on the water), “Constellations” is a direct plea from Cuddy in a song that is simply stunning and sure to last.
“Hands On The Glass” is sure to be a favorite for many listeners with its darker sound and undemanding guitar solos. From there, the album leads easily into “Cold Cold Wind,” which highlights Cuddy’s country sound with fun backing female vocals.
Finally, the album closes up smoothly a few tracks later with “Things Still Left Unsaid” — a sentiment close to Cuddy’s heart, we have to assume. With so many songs coming to Cuddy over the years, there is always more to be written and things to say. This song outlines the idea of somebody leaving once again (a theme that weaves itself through out the album). “Faded out like a distant star,” Cuddy’s album ends the same way as the lyric. Quiet and unassuming, Constellation ends in the same way it began.