John Dorsch’s New Collection “Elevation” 

John Dorsch’s new collection Elevation mixes his instrumental and songwriting talents with near-perfect balance. The Canadian vocalist, guitarist, and songwriter’s format for the fifteen-song release relies on nothing more than his individual talents paired with his wife Dani’s spot-on harmony vocals and varied percussion. He’s a musician capable of accomplishing more with a brief instrumental piece than many of his peers and contemporaries can match with full-length albums. It’s the latest turn in a decades long musical journey that has taken him from the local concert circuit to the cusp of global notoriety and his voyage is far from finished.

“Elevation” begins the album on an instrumental note. It’s often a sign of utmost confidence when an artist kicks off a release with the title track and that’s no exception in this case. The deceptively simple layering of the guitar running throughout this cut reaches melodic heights that few others can scale. “Nothing to Lose” is a standout track for several reasons. One of its most attractive qualities is a chorus that ties its loose threads together in a payoff moment clarifying its message for listeners. It’s impossible to ignore the personal implications of many Elevation songs and this one sounds closer to the bone than most.

He offers listeners the album’s first unadulterated love song with “You Are the One”. The purity of its sentiments pairs well with one of the album’s most delicate yet impactful arrangements. His harmony vocals with his wife Dani supply consistent high points throughout the release and this track is one of the best examples of that strength at play. He turns in a very different direction with “Passage to Perth”, a widescreen story set in musical miniature distinguished by significant lyrical details and some of the same intimacy underlying the album’s best songs. It comes near the midway point in the release, threatening to be lost in the shuffle, but listeners should seek it out.


“Compromises” is another of the album’s peak moments. This is a rich and varied lyric combined with a fully realized arrangement. Dorsch’s ability to realize subtle variations with his voice pays off throughout Elevation and helps set one song apart from the other. Naysayers may find a disconcerting similarity between many of the album’s early tracks, but choices such as what we hear here draw a clear line in the sand between respective songs.

“Fort Hemlock” is another of the album’s best instrumentals. Dorsch initially wrote the instrumental for a theatrical production, but the composition works just as well on a standalone basis. “Faith in Me” is one of the album’s true wild cards as we hear the rock influences that once held Dorsch in their sway bear full fruit. It has a dynamic arrangement that utilizes light and shadow with great skill and the lyrical content rates among the album’s best.

“On My Way to Mexico” is another lyrical gem. This “road” song is bursting with concrete details that bring its “narrative” to vivid life. It’s a track that, coming late in the album, contributes to the album’s concluding flourish without ever overshadowing the other material. There’s a deep bounty for listeners to draw from on this release; John Dorsch’s Elevation proves that creativity isn’t the exclusive providence of youth but, in fact, a lifelong endeavor. 

Michael Rand

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