Gordie Tentrees brings new tunes to The Hideout

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Local fans of finely-crafted heartfelt folk tunes won’t want to miss a performance by Yukon-based artist Gordie Tentrees.

The international award-nominated musician plays The Hideout on Jan. 20.

Tentrees, whose traditional roots tunes resonate with echoes of RL Burnside, The Sadies and Greg Brown – has just released Naked in Scandanavia, a live solo album recorded in Helsinki, Finland. The project features a collection of story-driven songs, edgy foot-stompers and heart-worn odes that could only be delivered by a veteran road warrior.

Though known for his dynamic solo shows, Tentrees is frequently backed these days by the gutsy roots sound of the his band Hill Country News, featuring Ken Hermanson (guitar, banjo, lap steel), Aiden Tentrees (upright bass) and Patrick Hamilton (drums).

His third album, Mercy or Sin (produced by Juno-winner Bob Hamilton), was nominated for a 2010 Western Canadian Music Award for Roots Solo Album of the Year.

The title track was also a finalist in the 2010 International Songwriting Competition, where judges included Tom Waits, Loretta Lynn and Jerry Lee Lewis.

He performed at the New Songs New Voices concert during the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, was selected by CBC Radio’s 2009 Song Quest as one of Canada’s top songwriters. Tentrees also hosted the prestigious SOCAN songwriters circle at the 2009 WCMAs.

This former school teacher, break-dancer and golden gloves boxer has toured from Newfoundland to Finland to Oklahoma and back again, averaging 200 concerts a year. Moving to Whitehorse a few years back from Toronto marked an unexpected new direction in Tentrees’ life – and career.

He had spent only a summer up north, but fell in love with the people and the place. A passion to create music was sparked as well. He sharpened up his own musical talents and lined up a set of musicians in a relatively short time. The dark winter months, minus the tourists, inspire the close-knit bunch of creators to collaborate that much more.

Opportunities to perform abound as well, meaning Yukon-based bands can often surge ahead compared to their big city counterparts.

Early musical influences were passed down during Tentree’s early years on a farm in southern Ontario. Performing has always come naturally, from his first gig as a breakdancer at 12 to a stint as an amateur boxer.

But it was after seeing his first Fred Eaglesmith concert that he tried his hand on a few instruments (he now plays guitar, dobro and harmonica). Ultimately, songwriting proved attractive as well.)

Meanwhile, Tentrees has toured with Eaglesmith, Kelly Joe Phelps and Ray Wylie Hubbard. And the creative fires continue to burn brightly, as the energetic dynamo is barely taking a breath.

He will be releasing his fifth album, North Country Heart, early in 2012 with tours in Canada, the United States and Europe (including the United Kingdom and Scandinavia).

-Weber

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