Wed, Sep 19, 2012.
Okay, Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival done and over, that was... amazing. Best one yet, I think. But..can't dwell on the past, onward we go, what's next? There's so much music happening, I'm spinning from week to week. Lots of great individual shows, but I think the next event would be the Music New Brunswick Awards coming up in Moncton, October 11th - 14th. There are showcases, lots of events open to the public, and of course some trophies to hand out. I'll be taking a look at some nominees, and lets start in the country world.
There is a whole school of youngish perfomers in this area and nationally who have chosen to follow the country path. However, it's fused with an alternative outlook on music. Often these folks have come from the indie world, and have a lot more ties to rock, punk, whatever. But they are big music fans, collectors of vintage records, knowledgeable about the past, including some of the seminal figures who didn't hit the mainstream but did great music. The Divorcees in Moncton are a good example, playing that classic outlaw music. Daniel Romano from Ontario, and Attack In Black and City and Colour is another, who plays in a sparkly suit and does his own 60's styled-country as well as George Jones covers and the like. There's a whole division of alt-country that's more country than what IS called modern country.
Jason Haywood was an early member of The Divorcees, on the ECMA-winning You Ain't Gettin' My Country album of 2008. Since then he's been working on his solo career, which has blossomed this year with the release of his A Thousand Miles Since Yesterday. It's garnered him nominations for Music New Brunswick awards for Male Recording of the Year, and Country Recording of the Year. Ooh, that's going to be interesting, he's up against his old Divorcees bandmates in that last category. Anyway, I heartily agree with this nominations, and here's why I love this album.
Haywood has a super voice for country, as it's sweet, but not too much, has some hurt, some twang, but it's not phony, put-on twang like you'll hear some attempt when they want to sound like they're from the south. He actually reminds me of Glen Frey back when the Eagles were starting, and were still half-country. And he has a collection of songs here that cover a whole lot of sounds, and a whole lot of topics that are the best to be found in the genre. There's a great prison song, The Longest Walk, about a lifer who is facing the parole board, he's done his time for the crime, and may or may not get released, we never find out. Merle Haggard would be proud. Fool Enough is an excellent lyric, about a musician who meets a woman on the road who could be the love of his life, but he knows it could destroy him too: "Although she was the sweetest thing my eyes had ever seen, she brought to mind the troubled souls and places I had been."
The musicianship on the disc is first-class as well, featuring an all-star group of Maritime musicians. The album was produced by Haywood, and Charles Austin, one of the best of the region. Dale Murray provides excellent pedal steel licks throughout, with his brother Brian on banjo. Kinley Dowling from Hey Rosetta! does violin and viola duty, Alan Jeffries, of his own fine bluegrass outfit, and David Myles' guitar player, contributes banjo, acoustic guitar and mandolin, and backing vocals come from Rose Cousins, Laura Merriman and Ruth Minnikin. Ruth also handles accordian on the Mexican-flavoured It Dont Take Much, showing Haywood can handle all sorts of the country flavours, on that Mavericks-styled number.
My favourite on the disc is the most modern sounding number, just because I love the vocal on it, and the way Dale Murray's steel weaves around Haywood's singing, plus Dowling's counterpoint strings behind. Plus it has a great soul groove to it as well. Called Waiting 'Round, it's one of my favourite tracks this year, period.
For those of you who were excited by David Myles' recent collaboration with hip-hop artist Classified on Inner NInja, the hit single that brought them the 2013 Juno for Rap Recording of the Year, there's good news: In The... more »
Indie music was always supposed to be different from the mainstream, pushing the edge. But for the past couple of decades, ever since Nirvana went ballistic, indie has followed the same pattern: As soon as there's something fresh, there... more »
The Mahones have been carrying the torch for Irish punk music since forming in Kingston, Ontario in 1990. Featuring front man Finny McConnell, born in Dublin and raised on both traditional Irish sounds and classic punk, the group has enjoying... more »
His story is so spectacular, it's enough to draw you into his music, he's led that kind of life. There's no room to tell it all here, drop by jontnet.com for more, but a capsulized version goes like this: Born... more »
Bob Mersereau has been covering music, and the East Coast Music Scene since 1985 for CBC. He's a veteran scene-maker at the ECMA's, knows where the best shows and right parties are happening, and more importantly, has survived to tell the tales. His weekly East Coast music column is heard on Shift on Radio 1 in New Brunswick each Wednesday at 4'45. He's also the author of two national best-selling books, The Top 100 Canadian Albums (2007) and The Top 100 Canadian Singles (2010).