Slowcoaster for me has always mainly been a live show band. I have and enjoy their earlier albums, but it’s the live show that captures their essence – and this CD is no exception.
Reminiscent of Nirvana’s Unplugged in New York, this live, off the floor Slowcoaster album is stripped of all the excess fat. From the opening applause of the polite and attentive audience from Riverview High School, you anticipate the quality show about to occur. It serves up Steven MacDougall, Mike LeLievre and Brian Talbot lean and strong. Solid guitar playing and steady rhythm accentuate MacDougall’s clear voice and story-telling lyrics.
Without the entertaining antics of their full-on electric shows, this recording contains the same “wanna get up and dance” vibes—just executed on a different level. The closing tune, “Venezuela”, will never fail to get fists pumping in the air and feet stomping with its refrain, “Holding down the fort, we’re Cape Breton Islanders…”. You’ll know the songs from the shows and the previous albums—from the classics “Violent Sister”, and “Aquamarine Tears” to the newer opener, “Special Kinda Love”. Now you can savour that dancing around the bar feeling in your very own living room.
The voices of Blue Rodeo’s frontmen Jim Cuddy and Greg Keelor have been compared to silk and sandpaper. I liken this comparison also to MacDougall and LeLievre. While MacDougall sings lead on all the tracks, LeLievre is the rugged voice adding further depth to the tunes.
No one is lined up to “shoot the boot” during this 11-track live recording. It’s about the musical genesis of their writing and playing. These guys are no longer working out the kinks. Songwriting and performing is what they are – and on this live, acoustic album, that is what you get.