Gordy’s six picks for 2018 from the Roots Music Canada mailbox
All year long, Gordy the Moose has been listening to the submissions sent to the Roots Music Canada mailbox and showcasing his favourites in his column here on the web site. Well today, Gordy shares the best of the best – his six overall favourites from this year’s mailbox. It was tough to choose. He heard so much good stuff. But here’s who made the final cut.
1. Danny Bell and his Disappointments – Good Timin’ Man (Release: Sept. 2, 2018)
Danny’s raw, accordion-based, irreverent punk-folk 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.
2. Bellegarde – Anba Tonèl (Release date: Oct. 14, 2017)
Daniel Bellegarde is a highly-accomplished Quebec percussionist who’s performed with some massive names in Quebec pop music like Daniel Belanger, Zachary Richard and Michel Rivard. But his debut solo album, Anba Tonèl, is like nothing the Moose has ever heard before. It’s an exploration of European-influenced Caribbean music, often performed by 19th century slaves. Did you know that the contradance and quadrille were part of 19th century Caribbean culture? I didn’t. Nor had I ever heard of the minuet-Congo. But this is a captivating blend of musical influences I never knew had a history together, and it’s played by top-tier musicians like Hassan El Hadi, Erik West-Millette, and Nicolas Boulerice (Le Vent du Nord).
3. Doris Folkens – Doris Folkens (Release Date: June 1)
4. 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.
5. The Raven and the Fox – “Follow Me” video
6. El Coyote – El Coyote (Release date: Apr. 3)
I’m not gonna lie, folks. The first couple of tracks the moose heard of this, he was a little lukewarm on. The next thing I knew, I couldn’t turn this thing off. This is an album that truly rewards repeat listens, as they say. Remember Katie Moore, that singer-songwriter from Montreal with that beautiful, sweet, girlish voice? Well this is her teamed up with two other gorgeous sounding Montreal singers, Angela Desveaux and Michelle Tompkins – and three great guys too: guitarist Mike O’Brien, bassist Andrew Horton, and pedal steel and dobro player Joe Grass – for a record that’s pure Nashville. Heck, if I didn’t know any better, I’d guess that Owen Bradley himself produced this. The atmosphere is killer. It’ll sneak up on you. Trust me.
- In concert: Sep. 28 – Black Sheep Inn, Wakefield, QC