Tue, Oct 8, 2013.
Opening up for the upcoming Matthew Good concerts in the province is a new band, or at least, new to you. Gentlemen Husbands is from Coburg, Ontario, and have just released their first disc, a four-track E.P., House Of Cards. But it's the classic story; this overnight success has been ten years in the making.
Lead guitarist Ryan Hutcheson is on the phone from Coburg, a small community of 20,000 east of Toronto. The band he helped found has been getting ready for this tour, this national debut, since the members met in high school. "Our mentally toward the whole thing, right from the start, was working on our craft," he says. "We didn't want to do a big tour until we were ready. We didn't think we should be out there killing ourselves, playing to nobody each night. Same as a record, we didn't want to do it until we had the songs."
The group members made a commitment to a music career early on as well. "We all made a lot of sacrifices," Hutcheson tells me. "We all decided to not go to college, to forfeit that back-up plan, and stay home and work hard. Spending every day together, practising and writing songs, putting in our ten thousand hours. We played a lot, but only around southern Ontario. We played every weekend, and were practising and writing every day."
The new E.P. is a showcase of the group's modern rock sound, featuring lead-off single Shelter Valley. It already sounds like a group that has its sound together, with softer verses and big choruses, lots of dramatic moments, compact and tight. Again, Hutcheson points to those years of woodshedding, until they got to the point where they felt they were ready to go national. We got to the point of experimenting with different songs and styles, we got to the point where we were very comfortable as a band and what we wanted to be. It felt like we were writing songs that we liked and were strong, what we wanted to hear. We were very quick to know what wasn't good. We took the Springsteen and Petty approach to writing, write four songs to get one good one."
This is will be the first time the group has played the Maritimes, but it will be a homecoming for Hutcheson. It turns out he's very familiar with the province, especially when he hits the Moncton area. "My family has a cottage in Shediac, I've been going every summer my whole live pretty much," he says, looking forward to the gigs. You can see Gentlemen Husbands on tour with Matthew Good Wednesday, Oct. 16 at Casino New Brunswick in Moncton, Thursday Oct. 17 in Saint John at The Imperial Theatre, and Saturday Oct. 19 at the Boyce Market in Fredericton.
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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).