One of the world's pre-eminent record producers, Canada's Daniel Lanois stepped out from behind the controls in 1989 to release his own album. An auspicious debut, Acadie signalled the arrival of a promising new performer with a flair for moody, country-tinged rock. For the Beauty of Wynona, his follow-up album, reveals other facets of his artistry. Inspired by Winona, Ont., the town near Hamilton where Lanois grew up, the recording is full of songs that conjure up stark, sometimes haunting images. The title track, with its childhood memories of fishing and girls skipping double-dutch, and “Sleeping in the Devil's Bed,” a lazy honky-tonk number, have a shimmering, dreamlike quality. And there is a grittiness to “Brother L.A., “written in the wake of the Los Angeles riots, that reflects his recent work as a producer with U2. But most surprising is the new confidence in Lanois's vocals--his voice has acquired a rich, almost rustic timbre. Deeply moving, For the Beauty of Wynona is the work of an artist who has clearly found his voice.
Maclean’s 12 April 1993