BeatRoute Magazine is a monthly arts and entertainment paper with a predominant focus on music – local, independent or otherwise. The paper started in June 2004 and continues to provide a healthy dose of perversity while exercising rock ‘n’ roll ethics.
C.W. STONEKING Aussie blues unrefined, undefined by B. Simm Dressed completely in white cotton, which is CW Stoneking’s trademark style, he looks every bit the Southern Gentleman, a ‘30s troubadour, roaming from house parlour to hotel lounge. Sipping lemonade in the heat, then a beer, a shot of whiskey. Playing for nickels and dimes, not making much of anything, but manages to stay fed, keep the grin on his face and somehow his jacket, pants and shoes remain immaculate white. Stoneking probably doesn’t roam from house parlor to hotel lounge, although he may have the odd beer and shot of whiskey. And the Australian native isn’t really a Southern Gentleman. But the white suit is indicative of one thing certain: he’s a purist committed to jazz, blues and ragtime steeped in the raw, untamed sounds of a distance past. Jungle Blues was released in 2008 and while Stoneking liked a lot of the ideas generated on that recording, he wasn’t happy with the recording’s mixing process. “To mix the damn thing was just a nightmare. It was recorded on Pro Tools, there were so many tracks, and instruments and sound effects.” In response to wrestling endlessly with the digital process, Stoneking stripped the sessions down to a single room on the next record with two mics connected to a two-track tape machine that recorded a set of drums, a bass, four female back-up singers and Stoneking’s guitar amp. On his bandcamp page, the making of Gon’ Boogloo is summed up by, “How it arrived on the tape, is how it stayed.” “Yeah,” says Stoneking on the phone from Nashville, where he played the Americanafest the night before, “I wasn’t intending to go as so simple as I did. I sort of just happened.” DEL BARBER Hey, hey... start the season scrappin’ by B. Simm a song,” admits Del Barber, “that I made fun of in my youth. I thought it was lame and I was never “It’s a Tom Cochrane fan. But the more I listented to his stuff and his band, I saw them live, the more I thought ‘Man, this is the kind of song I wish I could write.’ It’s got a huge chorus, it’s got a great story, it’s got substance, it’s true. So I thought it was a ballsy thing to do and something I wouldn’t get to do any other time.” Barber manages to belt out Tom Cochrane’s “Big League,” the iconic Canadian hockey hit, like Barber himself was in the big league. He also manages to make the song his own, along with handful of other quintessential tracks like Stompin’ Tom’s “The Hockey Song,” and “Clear The Track Here Comes Shack,” but also, surprisingly, Garry Glitter’s “The Hey Song – Rock And Roll Pt. 2.” Released last spring at the tail end of the hockey season, Del Barber’s and the No Regretzky’s The Puck Drops Here is a tough and tumble collection of covers and orginals that Barber literally bashes through with wild abandon — it’s a scrappy, but a thoroughly enjoyable game. He says, “The record was an excuse to experiment and use different templates and genres. It’s really fun music, and the most fun record I’ve ever made. There were no rules and we didn’t have time to think about it, we just did what came naturally.” Gon’ Boogaloo also happens to be fine document of music made in its undistilled, excited dangerous state. In addition to Stoneking’s blues purity, Boogaloo springs off in different directions and happily dovetails into calypso, reggae and bouncy feel-good dance hall. The four backup singers comprised of two sets of sisters has undeniable traces of ‘60s doo-wop, gospel and girl pop lending to the record’s buoyancy and freshness. It would seem that with his soul firmly planted deep in the roots of America, Stoneking would have toured that country from one end to the other by now. Not the case. Securing a band has always been a problem. Fortunately he’s found all that he needs on this current trek with three females playing bass, drums and sax along with providing back-up vocals. “It’s a condensed version of what I had on the record, and it’s been working out real well.” C.W. Stoneking brings his blues purity and handsome white suit to the Palomino, Monday, Oct. 10. Del Barber might pull a Big League during Wide Cut Weekend. He plays the Blues Can Fri., Oct. 14 and The Legion #1 Upstairs Sat., Oct. 15. 44 | OCTOBER 2016 • BEATROUTE ROOTS
PICTURE THE OCEAN five years of hard touring brings duo back to Edmonton The touring life can be exhilarating; every day a new locale, some place your eyes have never seen and may never see again, or the familiar faces of friends you made the last time you passed through. For Jesse Dee and Jacquie Boisvert of Edmonton’s Picture the Ocean, their five-year run as self-funded touring musicians took them across Canada several times, through Europe, America, and as far as India, giving them a new perspective of their Prairie home. “It took a bit of getting used to,” says Dee (pronounced Dah-min-yoo), “I think we were looking for that ‘sameness’ of day-to-day life for a while, rather than just show-to-show-to-show. I still love driving, checking out the little spots that we’ve come to know, we love that, but we have a lot of good friends in Edmonton that we never got to see very often, and it’s been great to reconnect with them, and start some new projects.” In addition to Picture the Ocean, Dee purchased a live production company, Listen Louder Productions, and holds down guitar duties in Joe Nolan’s band, The Dogs. He and Boisvert continue to maintain their long-held tenures in Scott Cook’s band, The Long Weekends. That sense of home is palpable on Something Real, their new album recorded live to tape in a cabin in Edmonton’s river valley, with engineer Scott Franchuk. The warm and spare acoustic feel of the record is enhanced by Dee and Boisvert’s personal intimacy, their voices swirling in intricate harmony. “I’d been reading a Neil Young biography, Shakey, and it really made me want to do something LAUREN MANN stretching beyond her former fairly odd folk ROOTS photo: Kristy-Anne Swart Lauren Mann proclaims that the “world is a beautiful place,” and on the Calgary native’s latest release Dearestly, we broker a tinge of her optimism through effortlessly catchy songs as well as stripped down, natural ballads. Mann found herself Inspired by the glean of the ‘40s as well as the earnestness of “old Disney movies,” entranced by the whimsy and beauty present in both. Dearestly features tight harmonies that are easy to enjoy and each song is filled with heartfelt and sentimental lyrics. Whether the focus of the by Mike Dunn photo: Erin Walker unadorned, really raw,” says Dee. “I don’t think it’s the kind of record we can take into the bar circuit, where, you know, you have the volume to make sure the crowd will hear it. For a record like this, we’d like to concentrate on house concerts, theatres, and festivals.” Picture The Ocean will release their second album, Something Real, at The Aviary in Edmonton, Wednesday, October 5th. by Kennedy Enns song is fun or covers some of the darker themes across the album, she demonstrates her songwriting talent. Standout album cut “St. Lawrence” was inspired by an exploration of a small island off the coast of Quebec while on tour. The song’s chorus was written in English, but translated into French in order for Mann to pay homage to the idyllic island that helped inspire the sultry anthem. Dearestly is meant to be experienced all at once, as Mann guides the listener through each of her songs, bookending each of its five distinct movements with an instrumental track, “Idyll” I through IV. Perfectly paced, she’ll have your foot tapping before you even notice in between her deeper, more introspective moments, which contrast and complement Dearestly’s overarching sensibilities. After winning the CBC Searchlight contest in 2014, Lauren Mann is continually thankful for the exposure the contest has brought her even after she has re-invented her image. Having dropped the mantle “The Fairly Odd Folk,” Mann now has more freedom to explore her voice as a solo artist, as well as invite different artists to join as her back-up band, she promises fans that she’ll “always have a band playing with [her] and they’ll always be fairly odd folk.” Lauren Mann performs October 5th in Edmonton at The Buckingham, October 7th at the The Slice in Lethbridge, and October 9th in Calgary at the Ironwood Grill and Stage. More tour dates across the prairies can be found online. TERRA LIGHTFOOT Hamilton folkie’s meteoric rise just keeps on going photo: Lisa Mcintosh It would be simple enough to describe Hamilton-based Terra Lightfoot’s rise through the Canadian music scene in the past year as “meteoric,” given her relentless touring schedule this year and having opened several dates for Blue Rodeo last winter after a well-received club tour to promote her latest album, 2015’s Every Time My Mind Runs Wild. Lightfoot’s showing no signs of slowing down though, as she prepares to tour the U.K. and Europe before beginning a Western Canadian tour in October. “There’ve been a lot of people that have come around that I really respect, who’ve become like, mentors,” says Lightfoot, talking to BeatRoute while she takes a break from packing for her European tour. “I’ve had lunch, or talked through email threads, or just met up with people to listen to their CAM PENNER new album a work of amorphous, experimental folk Cam Penner’s music is raw, uninhibited, and more than anything, diverse. Having recorded a grand total of eight albums over the course of 14 years, Penner has spent a lot of time honing his musical style and creating what you see today. “I don’t listen to the music I write. I listen to hip hop, soul, some Motown, and stuff like that,” Penner says. “I think the biggest thing is I’ve been doing this for quite a while, so how do you keep on making it interesting? I want it to change all the time.” Incorporating folk, rock ‘n’ roll, and even electronic elements, Penner’s newest album, Sex & Politics, is an album produced without a rigid structure. The album has “a sinisterness, a darkness, and a light to it.” It’s cohesive, and its intimacy is a reflection of Penner’s recording studio tucked away in the woods in British Columbia. “It sounds like an album to me. It doesn’t sound like a bunch of songs from here and there, it sounds like an album.” Penner began touring with Jon Wood 10 years ago and the duo hasn’t slowed down since. Touring, much like songwriting, has been an experiential process that has grown into something amazing. “The album is one piece of art, and then you take those songs on tour and it’s a different kind of art,” Penner says. “It’s even more uninhibited when you get onstage and you try and pull the rug from under yourself and your audience’s feet.” Touring, songwriting, and producing albums have been a continual process of learning, and Penner’s by Mike Dunn records, people that I never would have pictured myself getting to talk to in a social way, and they’re all lending their ears. It’s really inspiring.” With plans to head back into the studio in January, Lightfoot is showing no signs of letting up on the momentum that has brought her to where she is now. “We also have a live record with an orchestra coming out in the spring,” says Lightfoot. “We recorded it live in Hamilton. So many artists wait until later in their careers to do a live record, and I thought as a younger artist, I’d like to challenge myself.” Lightfoot also found tremendous inspiration in a writing excursion to Nashville, recording demos for a new record with Steve Dawson, and taking in day trips throughout the American South with her father, who she certainly did not expect to join her in the South. “You know how you invite your parents out, and you don’t expect them to come?” says Lightfoot with a chuckle. “I said, ‘Dad, you should come down on this trip with me,’ not expecting him to actually do it, but he got on a plane, and we just had a really nice time, travelling together. We saw Bishop Al Green leading the services at his church, and it was so mind blowing, it was just amazing to experience.” Terra Lightfoot plays extensive dates throughout Western Canada this fall. Catch her in Calgary on October 13th at Festival Hall, in Vancouver on October 19th at The Media Club, or one of her many other dates listed online. by Amber McLinden picked up on quite a few things throughout his career. Over time, you come to understand the best way to approach music, he explains. “Not being afraid of any idea. Not being afraid of trying anything out. Not being afraid of things. Challenging yourself. I think as you get older, you just don’t worry about shit as much as you used to. You go, ‘Fuck it, let’s just lay down whatever we want on the canvas and we’ll sort it out.’” Catch Cam Penner at the Almanac in Edmonton on September 28th, and the Ironwood Stage and Grill in Calgary on September 29th and 30th. BEATROUTE • OCTOBER 2016 | 45