March 24, 2008
I hope the Easter Bunny was kind to everyone this weekend. On this sunny, lazy Easter Monday
morning, evening, I have one more treat for you which, while not chocolatey is certainly sweet. On April 4th Stars will return to Kingston to share intimate stories of desire, heartbreak, and hope delivered with glorious intertwining vocals over beautiful orchestral arrangements. They will be joined by the amazing Gentleman Reg so get your tickets (sold out online but as of yesterday there are still some available at The Grad Club, the Brass or Destinations) and be prepared to be enchanted. To get you in the mood, I have two radio sessions from the kind folks at MPR – the first is from this past November and, since I had it, one from back in 2005. I hope you enjoy.
The Current, MPR, 3 November 2007
1. intro (talk)
2. Take Me to the Riot
3. in law & order I played a victim (talk)
5. the record will always exist (talk)
6. My Favourite Book
7. like a bad rash (talk)
8. Midnight Coward
March 15, 2008
A while ago I posted a few songs from Basia Bulat‘s wonderful performance at the Wolfe Island Music Fest. In anticipation of her return to Kingston on March 28th (with Katie Stelmanis who I talked about here) I am going to share with you the rest of the set. Everything about Bulat’s performance was excellent. She has an amazing, strong voice which, combined with lush and inventive instrumentation, make her quite unlike anything else I’ve come across. She makes soulful folk music backed with lush orchestration and it is quite frankly wonderful. Go see for yourself:
Mar 26 – Peterborough, The Montreal House
Mar 27 – Ottawa, Zaphod’s
Mar 28 – Kingston, The Grad Club
Mar 29 – Toronto, Lee’s Palace
April 3 – Hamilton, The Casbah
April 4 – London, ON, Call the Office
April 5 – Guelph, The Stage
April 12 – Montreal, Sala Rossa
April 1 – Quebec City , Le Cercle
and visit Rough Trade for US dates in April and May.
Basia Bulat, Wolfe Island Music Fest, 11 August 2007
1. Heart of My Own
2. In the Night
3. sad and lonely bear (talk)
4. La Da Da
6. I Was A Daughter
7. Oh, My Darling
8. Little Waltz
9. Pilgriming Vine
10. quite an adventure (talk)
11. Touch The Hem Of His Garment (Sam Cooke cover)
12. Before I Knew
13. see you again in the fall (talk)
14. Snakes and Ladders
Listen to the amazing live set from SxSW yesterday courtesy of the rad people at CBCRadio3.
And also the Daytrotter session.
And the 2005 Zeke’s Gallery show.
And do you want Bulat’s recipe for Polish Apple Cake? Of course you do. Visit Let’s Get Baked and scroll down until you see:
Mmmmmmm. Apple cake.
March 8, 2008
photo taken at Manhattan’s in Knoxville, 2007
Howdy Cowpokes. We are venturing into territory usually left unexplored here at the b(oot)log, even if we have approached its borders on occasion – country music. It is rare that a record which is as thoroughly steeped in country traditions and sounds as Corb Lund‘s recent “Horse Soldier! Horse Soldier!” would get my attention. There is no flirting with Western themes and the occasional slide guitar here and there: this album is country, but definitely in the best possible way. I think the prevalence of pop-country soured me for too many years to the possibilities of good country music. Having fairly recently become a fan of a number of ‘alt-country’ and ‘cow-punk’ acts, a number of whom I have written about here, I can now give a record like Lund’s a listen and get over any initial aesthetic reservations I might have and thoroughly enjoy it.
While not quite a concept album, an equine theme runs through half of the songs on this record. The catchy lead-off track, “I Wanna Be in the Cavalry”, is a consciously naive ode to the glory of cavalry warfare which is undercut by the realization of the horrors of war recounted in the Reprise at the end of the album, echoing of the rhetoric of bravado which surrounded enlistment at the onset of the First World War and which was rather quickly dashed by the horrors of the trenches. The title track is an stunning, detailed examination of the impact of the cavalry on the history of warfare in just over 5 minutes which is much, much more listenable and enjoyable than you might think based upon that description. Other standout tracks explore different aspects of the horse culture, such as the rodeo, and in “My Saddle Horse Has Died”, mariachi horns and cadence convey the pathos felt at the loss of a trusty steed. Even if you don’t have any understanding of, or interest in, horsed and the cowboy/cowgirl life, these songs are eminently engaging, providing a glimpse into the diverse worlds impacted by horses.
This is a perfectly paced album. It starts off at a quick trot and quickly accelerates into a unrelenting series of foot-stomping biographies of sinners and tales of those seeking redemption. The charming and out-and-out fun tales are temperd by serious themed songs, such as “Student Visas” which recounts a story about CIA-funded covert military operations in Nicaragua which is one of the best songs on the album. After a few melancholic songs, Lund takes mercy on us and serves up a couple of amusing tunes to break the sombre mood (“Hard on Equipment” and “Family Reunion”) before bringing us down again.
Lund is a master of narrative, both heavy and light. He is peerless in crafting songs that capture stories which can range from the autobiographical anecdotes to sweeping historical accounts. Lund’s songs are fantastic whether they are silly or deadly series and he is able to swing back and forth in tone effortlessly. Don’t let any initial anti-country music reservations hold you back: check out “Horse Soldier! Horse Soldier!” and allow yourself to be immersed into Corb Lund’s world.
Lund and his Hurtin’ Albertans are currently on tour. There is no Kingston show but they will be hitting the lovely Empire Theatre in Belleville tomorrow night (and I was just about to suggest you go get yourself a ticket but it looks like it sold out between yesterday and today). A few more Ontario dates follow before they head to Australia (they can be found below, full dates at Lund’s website) and you better get your tickets in advance because it seems like there are a lot of Corb Lund fans out there.
8 Mar Saints Showbar Montreal
9 Mar Empire Theatre Belleville
11 Mar Peter Clark Hall Guelph
12 Mar Rose Theatre Brampton
13 Mar Gryphon Theatre Barrie
15 Mar Brock Centre for the Arts St. Catharines
For those who were unable to get tickets to see Lund for themselves here are a few tracks from a concert recorded by CBC (full show can be streamed here) along with a couple tracks off the album.
Corb Lund and The Hurtin’ Albertans, Jubilee Auditorium, Edmonton, CBC Radio 2, broadcast 14 October 2006
* The Truth Comes Out
* Lund family history (talk)
* No Roads Here
* Family Reunion
* Always Keep An Edge On Your Knife
* apologies to the Hutterite people (talk)
* The Truck Song
* All I Wanna Do Is Play Cards
Bonus (from “Horse Soldier! Horse Soldier!”)
Buy Corb Lund’s records, stickers, toques etc. here.
March 1, 2008
photo by Pamela W., taken at the Preloved Pop Montreal show on Oct. 5 2006.
For those of us who were bowled over by The D’Urbervilles‘ independently released, hand-packaged EP from 2006, the arrival of their first full length album “We Are the Hunters” on Feb. 19th was cause for celebration. They lived up to the promise of both the EP and their stellar live show. Strong bass lines, spiky guitars, and precision drumming drive things along at an extraordinary clip while John O’Reagan delivers his lyrics emphatically. The band is exceptionally tight and they have their pacing down to a tee: they seem to intrinsically know how long to saunter along before exploding into a joyous, noisy crescendo. If the D’Urbervilles were intent crafting songs that would make listeners throw their fists in the air while dancing in herky-jerky unison, then I think it is safe to say they succeeded.
In an effort to bring their music to the people The D’Urbervilles are playing about a million shows in the near future. Ontario dates are below and they will be heading out east with the stunning Forest City Lovers (hey look! FCL have a new album, too! get it!) and then out West in April. Full dates at the myspace.
1 Mar Trepid House (All Ages CD Release w/ Bocce) – Waterloo *TONIGHT*
7 Mar The Grad Club (CD Release w/ Nich Worby) – Kingston
8 Mar The Montreal House (CD Release w/ Evening Hymns) – Peterborough
13 Mar EBar (Double CD Release w/ Forest City Lovers) – Guelph
14 Mar Tranzac (Double CD Release w/ Forest City Lovers) – Toronto
17 Mar Phog Lounge (w/ Fox Jaws) – Windsor
18 Mar The Alex P. Keaton (w/ Fox Jaws) – London
19 Mar The Foundation (w/ Fox Jaws) – Barrie
20 Mar The Casbah Lounge (w/ The Magic) – Hamilton
21 Mar The Velvet Elvis (w/ The Magic) – Oshawa
The D’Urbervilles are absolutely smashing live so you would only be doing yourself a disservice if you missed them. Sample the few tracks below from their set opening for Cuff the Duke last year to see what I mean. I only caught the last half of their set (Ohbijou were playing earlier in the evening and I had to make a choice) but what I saw was fantastic. Of course, I had no doubt that they would be after being mightily impressed when I saw them in 2006. Get out there. You’ll have fun.
The D’Urbervilles, The Grad Club, Kingston, 23 February 2007
Pick up the excellent new LP along with their EP at The D’Urbervilles’ myspace.