Album Review of
Open Road, Broken Heart
True North

Written by Joe Ross
November 19, 2017 - 12:00am EST
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Based in Oregon, True North's fourth album in over a dozen years together continues to emphasize rootsy original material with poignancy and soul. The band is a passionate contributor to the northwest’s acoustic folk and Americana repertoire. Their focus squarely emphasizes prolific contemporary messages, thoughtful arrangements, graceful instrumentation, and relaxed vocals. The group’s primary songwriter, Kristen Grainger, was a finalist at Merlefest, Telluride and Kerrville Festival songwriting contests. She’s joined by Dan Wetzel, Dale Adkins, Suzanne Pearce, and two guest artists Eric Alterman and Todd Sicafoose.

Opening with “One Way Ticket,” we hear about three different people searching for freedom and happiness. It’s a stark reminder that life isn’t perfect, but one must stay optimistic and keep on believing. “Dark Horse Bar & Grill” paints a vivid picture of a seedy place “with a special vault for storing things that aren’t your fault.” I also enjoyed the Zen-like quality of “Seed, Leaf, Flower, Seed” with its concise expressions that evoke the seasons of life. “You Come Around” is an interesting, but rather sad, take on the heartache of prolonged waiting for love to blossom. Song crafting is an art, and True North has again succeeded. I continue to encourage them to write more up-tempo material. Despite that, their masterful approach has a reflective, poetic quality and potential for widespread appeal. (Joe Ross, Roots Music Report)