Nova Scotia musician Carleton Stone’s third album, Draws Blood, is an excellent singer-songwriter experience with a blend of rock, pop and country influences — even jazzy trumpet melodies make a prominent appearance.
The album is dedicated to Stone’s friend Jay Smith, who passed away shortly before recording began. This adds an introspective, personal tone to the lyrics.
Draws Blood opens with “Blood Is Thicker Than Water,” which is rich in creative instrumentals and compelling vocals. However, the second song is even more absorbing. The impressive rhythms and backing vocals make “Climbing Up The Walls” shine as one of the most memorable songs on the album.
The next few tracks are more subdued, but this allows the vocals and lyrics to have their deepest impact. The vocals in “Signs Of Life” are very effective and the harmonies make listening very pleasant. “Love Into The Light” is slower and more romantic. The sleepy “When You Come Home” is the calmest, most relaxing track on the album, focusing on a quiet guitar melody and Stone’s voice.
The track “What I Want” is an upbeat contrast to the songs before it and the pop influence shows most clearly here. The title track, “Draws Blood,” is wistful, melodic and effectively combines a cheerful tone and poignant lyrics. The two final tracks are both memorable as well — “Like A Knife” for its sensual lyrics and creative bass and “Pick Me Up, Dust Me Off” for its slow, relaxing tone and country-influenced style.
Overall, Draws Blood is a pleasant listen with plenty of variation in mood and style within its 10 tracks. Consistent throughout are the excellent blend of instruments and melodies and the thoughtful lyrics.