One of Canada’s most prolific and gifted folk groups is heading to Red Deer next month. Elliott BROOD, based in the Toronto area, performs at The Hideout Sept. 20.
The trio is described as a group that writes songs steeped in history that somehow feel very present.
For their latest CD, 2011’s Days Into Years, it was century-old stories encountered an ocean away that brought them closest to home.
On the band’s first European tour back in 2007 they found themselves driving through the backroads of France. Vocalist Mark Sasso, guitarist Casey Laforet and drummer Stephen Pitkin, all enthusiasts of military history, raised on the harrowing stories of Canadians in World War 1, were simply looking to avoid the toll highways.
Then they came upon a sign for a WW1 military cemetery.
“We’d been driving through Belgium and France, always passing by these historical war places and we decided to pull over and take this one in,” recalls Sasso. “We saw all these Canadian names, and it really resonated with us, these young guys that had gone off to war. I knew all about it from reading books, but when you actually visit a place where the battles were, it hits you a lot harder. We said, ‘We need to write a record about it’.”
Days Into Years is Elliott BROOD’s third full-length recording, the follow-up to 2008’s Polaris Prize short-listed Mountain Meadows. Like its predecessors, including the 2004 debut EP Tin Type and 2006’s Juno-nominated Ambassador, it mines real history to connect songs that are deeply personal in a cinematic, narrative way.
Unfolding like a series of movie scenes, it looks to the future by starting with the past. Opening track Lindsay invites the listener into process of revisiting one’s life while cleaning out an old family home.
If I Get Old daydreams of making it through difficult times, be they in the trenches or a sickbed, and finding a nice place in the country to live out one’s final moments.
Days Into Years presents these reflections as a celebration of life, particularly on the perfect summer single Northern Air, a love letter both to the rural Ontario landscape and the memory of a departed friend whose spirit now resides there.
Recorded with co-producer John Critchley at Green Door Studios in Toronto and Avening Town Hall (a former army barracks) in rural Ontario, the album showcases a more amped up Elliott BROOD that will put the knell to the ‘death country’ tag that described their early work.
Now, the roof-raising rhythm stomp and mandolin collides with luscious harmonies, piano and, for the first time, electric guitar in a mix Laforet admits is “Loud, heavy and rock ‘n’ roll.”
But after touring with acts like Wilco, Blue Rodeo, Corb Lund and the Sadies, playing festivals across North America, Europe and Australia and scoring the 2010 film Grown-Up Movie Star (for which they earned a Gemini nomination for Best Original Song), the band now also has a global presence.
With Days Into Years they bring their music, and of one of the greatest Canadian stories, to the world.
Joining Elliott BROOD for their show at The Hideout is the Luke Blu Guthrie Band.
The band is a two-time VIMA-nominated, rhythm and blues duo that electrifies the stage with its alternative roots beat. Consisting of Luke Blu Guthrie and Elizabeth Penney, the pair can be counted on for a powerful, soulful performance that “vibrates the stage with poignant melodies that include slide guitar, masterful finger picking, strong vocals and upbeat bass lines.”
Named one of CBC’s independent artists to watch in 2011 and nominated for Male Songwriter of the Year at the VIMA’s in 2012, Guthrie is a growing presence on Canadian radio with live CDs.
Meanwhile, the most recent disc, Oil and Water, saw the band’s fan base explode in 2012.
Armed with acoustic and electric guitars, assorted foot percussion and plenty of rhythmic ‘slaps and yowls’, Guthrie has also been an integral part of the Vancouver Island music scene for over a decade. He is widely respected for his versatility and skill as a songwriter, vocalist and guitar player.
Elizabeth Penney joined the band in 2011.
An accomplished bassist with explosive rhythms, she incorporates elements of dance, funk, blues and country into the act. She has more than 20 years of performance experience, and is just as comfortable in a small town venue as she is sharing the stage with some of Hong Kong’s top recording artists.
Like Guthrie, she also has deep roots on Vancouver Island and her upbeat, down-to-earth spirit permeates her musical and stylistic contributions.
There’s no doubt that the band will continue to be an integral part of the western Canadian music scene in years to come.
“I would hope that people can discover a bit of themselves in my songs,” he says. “I always like it when I hear someone sing a line and I go ‘Hey! I’ve thought that before’. I hope these songs can help people to examine issues from different perspectives.”