OLYMPIC SYMPHONIUM - THE CITY WON'T HAVE TIME TO FIGHT
You can have a regular old album launch or, what the heck, you can have a great big old party, invite lots of your musical friends, make it last a whole weekend, and have a real celebration. That's just what Olympic Symphonium have decided to do this coming weekend. Their new disc, The City Won't Have Time To Fight, hit the stores this past Tuesday, and the gang from Fredericton is taking over parts of the downtown. Because it's January, they figured people needed a music festival that time of year, since normally it's so quiet. And, since it's January, they have a unique name for it: Shivering Songs.
As well as the official launch of the new album, you get a bunch of other excellent East Coast artists. The Symphonium have brought in their buddies: Isaac and Blewett, who often share the stage with the Symphonium and make a mighty mellow sound, Catherine MacLellan, again someone they often play with, serving as her full band, and Mr. ECMA-nomination-hog himself, David Myles. It was announced last week the Fredericton homie had snapped up five of the noms this year.
It's a jam-packed Saturday starting off with a songwriters circle of some of the invited guests. It's going to held at the beautiful Wilmot Church, one of the city's historic buildings with wonderful acoustics, and hosted by Mr. Myles, featuring Snailhouse, Gianna Lauren and Heat and Lights. There's also a twist on the usual songwriters circle, with a story-teller element too. It's none other than Grant Lawrence, the CBC Radio 3 broadcaster, one of the excellent music voices in the country, and a brand-new author. He released his first book last fall, called Adventures in Solitude, all about his growing up and going to a cabin on a remote area of B.C.'s coastline each summer. I read it recently, it's funny and poignant and I highly recommend it.
Later at Wilmot Church, you get the actual Olympic Symphonium release show at 8 PM, featuring the band of course, plus guests Catherine MacClellan and Isaac and Blewett. I'm sure the gang will all be onstage together at various times. After that, there's the after-party at the Capitol, with The Belle Comedians, John McKiel and Olenka Krakus. Now we head into Sunday, for another unique event. It's 11 am at the Snooty Fox, it's Alan Jeffrie's' Bluegrass Brunch, which means food and bluegrass, which sounds great to me.
Okay that's the Shivering Songs festival, but there's an album to consider too. The City Won't Have Time To Fight continues the excellent string of songs the group has put out. It's their third disc, of largely acoustic music, a soft and gentle base which can grow to a nice full intensity. Usually there's an atmospheric electric guitar weaving thru the tracks, light drums and loads of sweet harmonies. The group really woos you with these yearning vocals and laid-back grooves, and benefits from the different singers. It all works to create a bed of sound you just sink into. Having seen them perform a lot of these songs live already, they are some of their very best, and the recording is so bright all the notes ring and the vocals blend. I always smile broadly when I hear these guys, it's feel-good music.