Northern Pikes' Potvin Heads East...For Good

Here's a heartening story for those who are tired of seeing friends and kids and such move out west for work. How about a Prairie guy moving east? And not just any old Joe, this is one of our favourite musicians. Bryan Potvin is CanRock royalty, as a founding member of the long-serving and still-rockin' Northern Pikes out of Saskatoon. The Pikes' peak came in 1990, with the Snow In June album, featuring Potvin's tongue-in-cheek rocker She Ain't Pretty, and band mate Jay Semko's Girl With a Problem and Kiss Me You Fool. Video and radio play was huge for the band, and they recorded four albums before taking a break in 1993. Potvin did a solo thing, and the opportunity to work with the old gang came up again in 1999. Since then, the Pikes have released two albums, and toured lots, while still allowing Semko and Potvin to keep on their solo gigs.

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So Potvin has seen lots of this old country over the past 25 years, and he must have liked what he saw on the East Coast, because he's about to become a resident. He'll be moving to Lunenburg, NS, in the next few weeks. I'm not quite sure, but that might make him eligible for an East Coast Music Award next spring, for his brand-new release, Heartbledwhite. Inventive and rich, Potvin has a grand way with melodies, catchy tune after catchy tune. There's a big heart beating behind these songs, tapping into the spirit and desire for love we all feel. In Standing By You, he advises "Don't ever lose your reason, your will to survive." The attention to detail stands out as well. In Crazy, the instrumental breaks are just as lovely as the verses. Instead of solos, there are competing worldless vocals, one group going oo-oo-oo, then the other, deeper in the mix, answering ba-da-na, or something like that, the effect highly pleasing in this well-crafted pop number. Potvin has a fine voice as well, so there is lots of ear candy hear, along with some good, strong guitar numbers for a full mix.

Potvin's checking out the new 'hood right now, with some Maritime gigs. He's playing PEI's Trailside Cafe tonight (Friday, Aug. 8), Moncton's Plan B on Saturday night, and Halifax at The Carleton Sunday August 10. Then, he'll be back Nova Scotia for the Halifax Urban Folk Festival at the end of the month, and then a date with the moving truck.

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About Bob Mersereau

Rockin' BobBob 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).

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