Vancouver-based Belinda Bruce claims songwriting royalty amongst her influences: Lucinda Williams, Gillian Welch, Fleetwood Mac, Suzanne Vega and Joni Mitchell, just for starters. It's safe to say that in the wake of her brilliant sophomore album The Good Life, the name Belinda Bruce will soon be a regular on such lists of other artists inspirations. Her beautiful 2005 debut Dream Yourself Awake (Maximum) presented a sublime collection of oft-playful, mildly psychedelic chamber-folk, receiving international plaudits and domestic award nominations galore. A highly melodic, yet understated first release, it nonetheless remains an auspicious debut that held promise spectacularly realized in The Good Life. While the rustic whimsy and masterful grasp of pop melody that characterized Dream Yourself Awake remain undisturbed, The Good Life is a grittier proposition altogether. An exploration of themes relating to city life, Belinda Bruce & the Tawny Stars invite the listener into a world populated by somebodies and nobodies experiencing the unpredictable peaks and troughs, highs and heartaches of life, love 'n' everything. From the guarded intimacy of opener "Dirty Little Secrets"to the orch-pop ode to urban existence "Citysong"; from the frankness of cornerstone epic "Rust" to the ruminative sing-a-long of the closing title track, The Good Life is a personal journey of human experience in the big metropolis. Though whether urban or rural dweller, it remains the story of us all. Many Canadian indie, female roots musicians of the last two years-including Alana Levandoski, The Be Good Tanyas, Angela Desveaux, Po' Girl and Kathleen Edwards-have been making strides into the worldwide market. It seems just a little bit likely that Belinda Bruce will be at the crest of that next wave, riding in on the roots-rock opus that is The Good Life. And in The Tawny Stars, Belinda Bruce has assembled pretty much the cream of Vancouver roots talent to accompany her. With a collective resume dovetailing with the careers of Canadian legends and up-and-comers The Paperboys, Flophouse Jr, Rodney Decroo, Rich Hope, Spygirl, Herald Nix and Neko Case, we are talking Emmylou's Hot Band, and then some. Listen to The Good Life and you'll agree. The Good Life is available now on Bee-Side Records.