It was a busy one last week, so much so that I didn’t get a chance to check out any of the shows (or even write this column, if you noticed). I did, however, get a nice birthday package in the mail from New Waterford songwriter Andrew Gillis.
Gillis has spent the last couple of years writing music under the name Rebecca’s Room. With some accompaniment from friends, Gillis has continuously produced some of the more interesting music to come from the island.
Upon opening the package, I was presented with a hand painted cover of the aptly named The Burned CD 2. The liner notes are sparse, lacking any sort of grandiose presentation or facade. With the first notes ringing through my stereo, the recording reflects this with lo-fi production filling the air.
Despite, or perhaps encouraged by, this, the songs shine. They experiment with all the trappings of sixties’ psychedelia, adding sparse drums and swirling soundscapes to what is essentially a beautiful acoustic record. Gillis’ voice is spectacular in its imperfection, full of depth and character unheard of in people his age.
Everything about the album works. The instrumentation makes the lack of production its own instrument. The sparse experimental style makes the folk pop songs sound deeper and diverse. The sappy lyrics that touch on sweet songs, mushrooms, and spring days thrive in that hippy era sound it borrows so spectacularly. If you like anything from the Beatles to Dylan, it is worth picking this up and giving it a few listens.
On to this week, there are even more CDs on the go. Saturday night will host CD release shows at both Governors Pub and The Upstairs Club from drastically different acts.
At Governors Pub, Halifax foursome Shelter with Thieves hit town with their brand new CD, Someday is Never Soon Enough. The band is loud and guitar driven, taking elements of rock and punk and creating something familiar but not contrived. The piece that brings it together are the hooks and catchy melodies that envelope you. Accompanying them will be locals Ricochet and Wilds of Borneo, so make sure you bring your ear plugs and be ready for a rock show.
At The Upstairs Club, Angelo Spinazzola has his new CD Beautifully Imperfect in tow. I am not as familiar with Spinazzola’s songs as I could be, but had the chance to check him out a few years ago at a songwriters’ circle. At the time, I was quite impressed with the fresh sounding, almost James Taylor-esque, folk music. If the CD reflects this, with well crafted songs driven by acoustic guitars, harmonicas, and other instruments, it could be the must have local CD of 2011.
The remainder of the weekend sees the Jacob Noonan led Regal Beagle Band at Governors Pub on Thursday night, while my own band, Joe Costello and the High Tide, hits town for three shows in two days.
On Thursday, the band will head out to Caper Radio for a live on air performance at 5pm. The people at Caper Radio have been injecting themselves into every part of the local scene over the last year, including regularly presenting these on air performances. The show, which you can also come in and check out in person, is available for live streaming from their website www.caperradio.com.
On Friday, the band hits the Cape Breton Fudge Company for an acoustic set at 6pm. We’ll be taking the songs back to how many were conceived, on acoustic guitars, and running up a tab of delicious, delicious fudge. Later in the evening, we’ll be at Governors Pub alongside Right on Yukon’s Greg Wadden and Painting Purple’s Colin Burke for an electric set.
Track of the Week: Green Eggs and Jam. Ran into this gem on YouTube over the weekend. It’s even on topic, with Angelo’s CD release this week, the band consisted of Carlo and Angelo Spinazzola, Dave Mahalik, Stuart Cameron, and Gordie Sampson and was a fun folky jam band. Check out how young the boys are, it’s a great trip back in time.