The Study of Animal Magicality – My Boy Rascal
I saw My Boy Rascal perform at a coffee house recently, an overnight stop on a cross-Canada tour with road buddy, Folk Thief. The acoustics of the room, combined with the escalating background chatter of a bustling coffee house, did not really allow for ideal listening conditions. My impressions of a laid-back groove from an affable young guitarist were cemented, however, when Colby Ramsay (aka My Boy Rascal) made the rounds of the tables after his performance, stopping to shake hands and thank everyone personally for listening. That’s the way to engage an audience, I thought. We talked at length, about family, growing up in BC, the challenges of the road.
But I really needed to listen to his debut album, The Study of Animal Magicality, to get a better feel for the musical range of this singer-songwriter. My initial impressions of a smooth and laid-back performer were confirmed by the first track, OK, a breezy number that conjures up images of life by the water. Turns out those initial impressions were merely surface reflections.
The Study of Animal Magicality quickly reveals more interesting depths of music with subsequent tracks, the sound fleshed out with backing orchestration, all the while showcasing the impressive finger-picking style of guitar playing that defines My Boy Rascal. The darkness of Coming Clean, the raw emotions of The Plea with its powerful guitar breaks, the surprising turn from piano-driven ballad to operatic overture showcasing an impressive vocal power on Lost, are all points of real musical suprise that keep surfacing. Family is particularly lovely, the power of backing drums and vocals adding real strength to the poignant lyrics.
The Study of Animal Magicality is an impressive debut album from an affable musician who is worth the listen.