Canada’s Doug Hoyer is known as a ukelele troubador but this is a very simplistic take on the music he produces. The other side of the tale is that he is an immensely talented and versatile artist who injects his songs with emotion and wit.
With the addition of brass instrumens, there’s a warm, traditional heart to album opener ‘Little Things’, which is reinforced further by Hoyer’s comforting vocals. ‘With You In My Arms’ has the air of a classy C86 record whilst ‘Oh, The Wind Will Blow’ is delivered in the style of a 1960’s soundtrack, complete with female backing vocals but at its core is Hoyer’s rich vocal and insistent ukelele. It would also take a heart of stone not to be moved by the tender, romantic ‘Tattoo’. Early single ‘Northern Lights’ is largely synth driven but still packs an intimacy and the Belle and Sebastian-like ‘Snow Bank’ is a lovely way to end the record.
Granted, a few of the later songs lack a little energy but Hoyer’s delivery is never less than charming. In summary, ‘Walks With the Tender and Growing Night’ is an exemplar in how to make traditional folk music sound contemporary and relevant.