Doug Folkins,
Touchstone
(Fenwick, 2003)

Folk-rock singer-songwriter Doug Folkins, the pride of Campbell River, British Columbia, has just released the follow-up to his critically acclaimed 2001 release, Signs Along the Way. Touchstone features 12 original songs, and the list of guest musicians and vocalists is, unfortunately, too long to quote here. I'll just say this: it's an impressive list and represents the wide variety of sounds that make up the songs on Touchstone.

The musical styles range from Celtic on "Rafferty's Revenge" and rockabilly on "Heart of Stone" to the rootsy feel of "Whiskey Wind" and the waltzing country tune "Please Don't Whisper." Folkins' songwriting is mature and skillful -- he definitely knows his way around more than one type of music.

My favourite tracks are "On the Phone," an inspirational song about breaking up and picking yourself back up, featuring a duet with Brodie Dawson, and "Jamie," a poignant tale of broken love. Also good is the funky rock number "Bring it on Back," which Folkins dedicates to his grandfather and the summers spent on his farm in New Brunswick.

For the most part, Touchstone is a good old-fashioned folk-rock record, perfect for playing loud on sunny summer days.

- Rambles
written by Rachel Jagt
published 5 July 2003