Wednesday, July 4, 2018


Now here's some Canadiana. Folks from Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Ontario, Alberta and B.C. end up living in Montreal and making a country album. Well, alt-country, or in other words, old school country with folk melodies and thoughtful lyrics, and in this case, a beautiful sound and haunting vocals and harmonies. The six-member group came together from Friday night kitchen singalongs. There are three singer-writers; Katie Moore, Michelle Tompkins and Angela Desveaux, and players Joe Grass (dobro, pedal steel), Mike O'Brien (guitar) and Andrew Horton (bass). All are experienced performers in various Montreal groups, and this is their first release under the El Coyote banner.

Each of the singers has a true, classic roots voice, natural and easy to enjoy. The harmonies are gorgeous, soothing even, so comfortable do they blend. Mostly these are country ballads, with 19th century folk touches, and even some Western influences. But there's still that little alt- edge, so it's never a homage to old timey sounds. The best I've come up with as a description is Cowboy Junkies visiting the McGarrigle family for a parlour session. The language is certainly older rather than modern; they sing of time and tide, and a false-hearted lover. But even cuts like Lighten up Diane and the uptempo cut Tip Jar feel more like they are set in the 1950's than today. Delicate acoustic picking and Grass's hypnotic pedal steel and dobro dominate the instrument sounds, while wisely never getting in the way of the voices. I haven't heard a combo like this since the Trio recordings of Emmylou, Linda and Dolly.

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