JUSTIN NOZUKA, Chestnut Spoke To Maple (EP)
I didn’t see this one coming when it dropped early last month, but immensely talented Toronto singer/songwriter Justin Nozuka released Chestnut Spoke To Maple, a four-song EP, kind of out of nowhere, and not really as a follow up to 2014’s bold and experimental Ulysees. It was recorded after a series of acoustic shows which Justin performed throughout last year, as well as opening for the likes of Brian Wilson. There’s always a lot of deliberate quiet and rawness in some of Justin’s songs, and this EP basks in peace, tranquility, love, and being at one with nature. The gentle zinger here is a stripped down rendition of Sade’s By Your Side (originally from the 2000 Lovers Rock album) which Justin reinterprets and makes his own. The EP is rounded out by the soothing ear candy of “September Grass” and “Moonlight”, while only “Willow” seems to fade into the background well before it ends. Overall though, Chestnut Spoke To Maple is the kind of record to play when you need a distraction or to relax, knowing that someone like Justin Nozuka can make it all feel better for its duration.