Thu, Nov 1, 2012.
Most of the new folk music today is just that - new, with modern sounds and lots of mixing with other genres. While the creators may be influenced by classic folk music, what they produce in the end has more to do with the alternative music scene they are part of. Not so with Kyle Johnson. The young Moncton songwriter plays music that can only be described as folk, with a little bit of old country in there. He's been playing around the Moncton scene for a bit, and now has his debut disc, The East Coast Rambler ready to launch tonight.
Now, Johnson doesn't limit himself to old topics, despite the heritage sounds on the disc. On Highway Cowboy, a driver has a Bluetooth in his ear, and a GPS to show him where to go. Soldier At Home is a tender story about a kid having to watch his army father go overseas, but this isn't a World War 1 saga; instead, it's about a modern peacekeeper, who appears on TV, informing the nation of a roadside bomb attack, but sending a special message to his son. Yet the stories feel old, because the themes are classic. There's a prison number, set at Dorchester prison. Closing track Water Of Life is about a tale many of us were inspired by growing up, that of the Oak Island Treasure long thought to be buried along the Nova Scotia coast. Yup, a pirate and treasure song, but set today. Hats off Kyle, I've always loved that mystery story, and I'm happy it still lives on.
Johnson's originally from Victoria County, and there are references to the area here as well. He also recorded the songs there, produced by New Denmark's Jens Jeppesen, a fellow traveler in the folk circles. Jeppesen adds lots to the disc, including banjo and mandolin, and Riverview's Samantha Robichaud joins in on fiddle.
You can catch Johnson at his launch shows this week. Tonight (Thursday, Nov. 1) he's at the Fox N' Hound in Riverview, then on Friday the show heads to Woodstock at the Cedar Hill School House. Saturday night, New Denmark is the spot, an all ages show at the New Denmark Rec Centre. And it's not just Kyle, but a big gang featured a set by Jeppesen, and also one by Woodstock group Tracy Anderson and The Hurtin' Hearts. So that's a fine night of New Brunswick music this weekend.
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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).