Country Standard Time – ‘You Can Count On Me’ Review

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Country Standard Time

August 21, 2015

The Karpinka Brothers, You Can Count On Me – 2015 ( Self-released)

By Lee Zimmerman

Considering the fact that these two siblings are virtually unknown on this side of our northern border – that despite the two albums (“One Brick at a Time,” their 2008 debut and “There’s a Light,” released in 2012) that have paved the way for their new release, the giddily-titled “You Can Count on Me.” It comes as something of a surprise to find them so immediately engaging – and more than that, so consistently irresistibly charming as well. Imagine combining enlisting a Cajun ensemble to play the music made by a venerable pop purist like Buddy Holly, and you’ll then get an idea of what the Karpinka clan has to offer.

“You Can Count On Me” reinforces that notion even further, thanks to its cheery melodies and a sound capable of making converts even on first encounter. Happily too, the fact that they hail from a distant place like Saskatoon, Saskatchewan doesn’t diminish their irrepressible attitude. On songs such as “You Can Count on Me” and “Lost and Found,” the energy and approach are so effortlessly upbeat, one can’t help but wonder where that enthusiasm comes from. Indeed, the aforementioned Mr. Holly would likely have been pleased to claim a pair of songs like “Tetherball” and “Who Says Dreams Don’t Come True” as two of his own. So too, the track that follows, “Far Away” purveys the unabashed innocence of the early Hollies or Kinks.

Part of the reason for their effusive persona may have something to do with the simple subject matter at hand. There’s nothing headier here than their various discourses on romance and relationships, and even the tunes that touch on mistrust and betrayal are instances are relatively rare. When, on “You Can Count on Me” and “Heaven Help Me Through the Hard Times,” they express some wariness about infidelity, they refrain from outright accusation, all the while ensuring that the optimism remains intact. Given today’s generally pessimistic perspective, it’s no small gift to be able to count on that.