This is a long overdue review of the new album by JUNO-nominated Canadian folk duo, Fortunate Ones. Having released on June 3rd of this year, That Was You and Me is a gorgeous musical journey full of wonderful melodies, dancing harmonies, and heart felt story telling.
The duo consists of Catherine Allan and Andrew James O’Brien. This album was written during a challenging time in their lives, both from a standpoint of the state of the world, but also from personal challenges as well (O’Brien having had a tumor removed from his hand, which greatly challenged his ability to play guitar and forced him to reevaluate how to approach his career as a musician).
“What is your life when everything else is stripped away and you have nothing else?” – Catherine Allan
At the end, there’s love… This album encompasses this feeling of love from start to finish.
The album opens with “Day to Day,” which O’Brien wrote from start to finish on his phone whilst making breakfast one morning. From this very first song the album sets it’s tone in looking to find meaning in life’s challenges, beautiful moments, and seemingly day to day moments that feel insignificant. It beautifully encompasses what I think most of us experience every day as we go through our own lives.
The second song on the album is likely my favorite, “Heavy Heart.” From the memorable melody to the relatable message, this song hits all of the right places with its message of hope. There is a music video out to accompany this song now, so be sure to check that out while you are here:
Allan takes the vocal lead with “Clarity,” showcasing the talent between both members and how they are able to support and balance one another through the melodies and harmonies in each song. “It’s Worth It” is a beautiful tribute to O’Brien‘s father. It’s an anthem that encompasses how we should all view our time on this Earth. This song was recorded in a single take, and you can hear the emotion pouring through it.
Before I continue, I want to express how important it is to listen to this album with your full body and mind present. The melodies are lovely, but the lyrics are what will speak deep to your soul and really connect you to each song. The timeliness of the themes on this album definitely hit me deep upon second listen, when I really listened to every single word. A few tears were shed as I connected with the duo’s own shared experiences in writing this album.
“You’re Still Here” could’ve literally been taken from my internal monologue from the last few years. “You’re still here. Every moment you had, both the good and the bad, are just a part of your story, my dear.”
My second favorite song on the album after “Heavy Heart” is “85.” Something about this song just gets under the skin, but in a good way. The instrumental accompaniment is haunting. “Hold tight, my love. With all your might, my love.”
The album wraps up with the same strength and emotion that it started with “A Thousand Tiny Ways,” “Anchor,” and “That Was You And Me,” the title track. For those looking for an album that encompasses love and life in a sweet and soulful way, this is the album for you. Depending on where you are in life right now, you may want to grab a box of tissues for when some of these tracks gut punch you – but it’s a good type of emotional release that helps lift a heavy heart, give you some clarity, and anchor your life in a thousand tiny ways.
This is an album that deserves to be listened to on vinyl, which you can get from their store on their website: https://www.fortunateones.ca/store/. But to listen to it faster, be sure to check out the album on Spotify below: