After paying his dues in bands, rootsy singer/songwriter Bryce Jardine turned some heads with his 2012 debut album The Kids Are Gone (having a guest appearance by Serena Ryder on the title track didn't hurt). He now returns with Lean Years, an EP that reaffirms his talent. The title track features mellow vocals and a nice dynamic range, and the gentle "Be Still" is another winner, with strong harmony vocals from Michelle Willis (Three Metre Day). The record's title references some of its themes- "what it's like to be young, struggling, broke, in love, while hanging on to hope-filled dreams", he says. The production work of Brad Kilpatrick (Holy Fuck, Hawksley Workman) and the playing of Jardine's band the Parlour Birds is first-rate.
An Ontario tour begins at Windsor's Phog Lounge on Sept. 3 and includes a gig at Toronto's Silver Dollar on Sept. 11. Check his site for details.