Danny Bell, Danielle Knibbe, Diyet & The Love Soldiers, Dustin Bentall and more!
Gordy the Moose presents some of his favourite new music from the submissions that have arrived in the Roots Music Canada virtual mailbox.
Danny Bell and his Disappointments – Good Timin’ Man (Release: Sept. 2, 2018)
Pardon the moose’s French, but this is fucking great – raw, accordion-based, mildly-klezmer-inspired, irreverent punk-folk that totally sounds like the second coming of Geoff Berner. And really, who hasn’t thought to themselves at least once, “Man, I wish I could clone Geoff Berner?” (Well, OK, apart from maybe some marketing execs at Volkswagon and the entire organizing body of the 2010 Winter Olympics) But Danny lives in Prince George, not Vancouver – so while Geoff gives us songs about over-priced condos and the plight of Steve Fonyo, Danny gives us tunes about the pulp and paper industry and the pretentiousness of white collar life. As a moose that resides in another northern industry town – Thunder Bay – I have to especially congratulate Danny for getting the words “black liquor” into a song. And I mean “black liquor” as in the waste product from pulp mills; not some eerie metaphor for alcohol. Keep an eye out for this kid, folks. He’s going places.
Danielle Knibbe – Infatuation EP (Release date: Nov. 9, 2018)
Toronto-based Danielle – whose last name is pronounced “kuh-NIB-bee” – graduated from MacEwan University’s composition and recording programs in Edmonton and composed for an Edmonton Fringe play before moving back to Ontario around four years ago. Since then, she’s been gigging at the Dakota, the Burdock, the Cameron and other hip local venues. She released a debut EP, Every Last Wish, in 2013, followed it up with a debut album, Some Curious Birds, in 2016, and now has this new EP called Infatuation. The songs she sent the moose are solid, well-crafted contemporary folk numbers with a touch of country, but I’m really loving the versatility of Danielle’s voice. She’s got power, grit, and a touch of twang on “Agony,” but then she showcases a softer, wistful side on “Simple Love” that’s equally beguiling. Nice stuff, Danielle.
Diyet & The Love Soldiers – Self-titled (Release date: Oct. 21, 2018)
Back in the early days of Kim Barlow, Kim Beggs, and Jerry Alfred and the Medicine Beat, Heather used to joke that the official slogan of the Yukon should be “We have a population of 35,000 people, and none of our bands suck.” And it appears nothing has changed, given the sound of this stellar recording by Diyet and the Love Soldiers. Diyet is a powerful singer of Southern Tutchone, Tlingit, Japanese and Scottish heritage. She got a music degree in B.C. and married Dutchman Robert van Lieshout before returning to the Yukon and teaming up with her husband and Juno-winning Whitehorse producer and musician Bob Hamilton – the one constant across many many great Yukon records – to form the Love Soldiers. Diyet sings a little in Southern Tutchone, but mostly in English. She’s got a strong, versatile voice and a sound that incorporates elements of traditional singing, folk, roots and rock – to say nothing of some gorgeous mandolin picking by Bob. I don’t know what it is about the Yukon, but they sure do make some great music up there, and this is another fine example.
Western Swing Authority – Big Deal (Release date: Oct. 26, 2018)
These guys are no strangers to the country scene in Canada. This septet, anchored by the husband and wife team of Shane and Stacey Lee Guse has scored countless awards, including three Canadian Country Music Association awards in the past three years alone. Their band-members include Matthew Lima, who’s backed up Kellylee Evans, and Ed Ringwald, who used to play with Gordon Lightfoot – and wait ‘til you see the list of guests on this record! Jason McCoy, George Canyon, Russell DeCarle, and Danny Michel among others. Folks, this record is good, clean fun from beginning to end, and the playing is first rate. If you love western swing, you’re going to love this. Have a listen to the opening track, “Mississippi.” Oh! And you can see them live!
- Dec. 23 – Rhapsody Barrel Bar, Kitchener ON
- Jan. 27 – Commercial Tavern, Maryhill ON
- Feb. 1 – Hugh’s Room, Toronto ON
Dustin Bentall – “Not Been Sleeping” video (Release date: Nov. 23, 2018)
Woah. The moose was not expecting this from Dustin. This minimalist and haunting number makes me want to run over to his house and make sure he’s OK. To be fair, Dustin’s songs frequently pack a tougher emotional punch than the ones his dad, Barney, is most famous for – feel-good tracks like “Something to Live For” and “Come Back to Me,” which propelled him to the ranks of West Coast roots-rock royalty. But this is pretty damn raw. I mean, don’t get me wrong; it’s beautiful, and the harmonies are lovely. It’s just so … unsettling. This song comes from Dustin’s forthcoming EP, High in the Satellite, which is due Feb 22. He’s got three gigs coming up around there too (see below). Would you guys mind going and checking him out and making sure he’s ok?
- Feb 20 – Dream Café, Penticton, BC
- Feb 23 – The Ironwood, Calgary, AB
- Feb 24 – Pynelogs Cultural Centre, Invermere, BC
Don MacDonald – Carried (Release date: Oct. 15, 2018)
You might never have heard of Don MacDonald, but chances are good you’ve heard his music. He’s scored more than 50 films, including Lynn Stopkewich’s Kissed, he’s won three Leo Awards for Best Original Score, and his choral works have been performed by the Vancouver Chamber Choir, the Elektra Women’s Choir and others. But this, THIS, is Don’s first effort as a singer-songwriter. There’s no question his work has a cinematic quality about it – a dark, cinematic quality that reminds the moose a little of Pink Floyd every now and again. Listening to the lyrics, the moose was starting to conclude that Don’s been through a lot of hardship lately – and maybe he has – but when I started reading his blog, I realized that some of these songs are inspired by mythology or by well-known stories involving others. Take the opening track for example. The second verse of “What a Change” sounds like a horrible tale of two people being persecuted for an interracial marriage – and it is – but it’s about the Lovings, who fought to overturn anti-miscegenation laws in the US in the 1960s and lived to tell the tale. The first verse of the song is about Adam and Eve. Have a listen!