"Drive-In Movie" is the folk/alternative country album from Canadian-songwriter Fred Eaglesmith. This effort earned Eaglesmith Canada's prestigious Juno Award--the Canadian equivalent of a Grammy Award--in 1996 for "Best Roots & Traditional Solo Album." The songs on this, his seventh, album reveal Eaglesmith at his edgy best, with stories that leave you with a wry smile of recognition, nostalgia or dark humor.
Fred Eaglesmith isn't exactly a country singer. Perhaps what this raspy-voiced Canadian troubadour has perfected is best described as North Country music. Owing something to Steve Earle
's feistiness, John Prine
's working-class song craft, and, as he develops in the studio, Tom Waits
's musical dissonance, Eaglesmith creates music that's ultimately reflective of his background. One of nine kids, he grew up on a farm in southern Ontario, left home at 15 when his parents lost their spread, and has been making music ever since. There's a palpable tension to his best songs. "You like to talk about honesty / Like you just invented the word / Till all your silly lies / Are left spilling from your eyes," he snarls in "Crashin' and Burnin'." "Everywhere you go there's a train wreck, baby," he gripes in "49 Tons," one of three train songs in this 11-track set. Eaglesmith, however, isn't soothed or made wistful by the notion of a freight crossing the plains. Rather, it's the fire and heat of the engine that spark his imagination. --Steven Stolder