Halifax-based singer Willie Stratton has proven time and again that he can dive into any of rock ‘n’ roll’s various iterations—heartsick blues, twanged-up country, hip-shaking rockabilly, groovy surf—and emerge as a maestro of the style. On his forthcoming LP, Stratton seeks synthesis: Drugstore Dreamin’ finds him playing alchemist, melting down the myriad sounds he’s mastered over the years to create singular sonic gold. As Stratton deftly weaves and mixes musical forms, Drugstore Dreamin’s intoxicating concoction brings his timeless songwriting to the forefront.

Through the lush, rolling Americana of “Caroline,” Stratton tells the Herzogian tale of the Caroline affair—one of the defining losses in William Lyon Mackenzie’s Upper Canada Rebellion, during which a group of Canadian rebels fled to a Niagara River island only to be overtaken by British forces, who seized their ship, set it ablaze, and floated it down the river toward the falls.