Vissia, Debbie Adshade, Joe Nolan, and Missy Bauman
Gordy the Moose presents some of his favourite new music from the submissions that have arrived in the Roots Music Canada virtual mailbox. There was so much this month, we had to give him a bonus column to feature it all.
Vissia – “You Should Be Sleeping” video (EP release date: Aug. 11, 2017)
Back in the mid to late 2000s, Alex Vissia and her sisters were singing wholesome folk and country in three-part harmony as part of their family band, the Vissia Sisters. In fact, they were nominated for the 2006 Canadian Folk Music Award for Young Performer of the Year, and I believe they scored a Canadian Country Music Association award nod too. But now Alex is all grown up, and she’s not only adopted the “indie” esthetic of employing a mononym, she’s adopted indie production values too. This second single and title track from Alex’s 2017 EP, You Should Be Sleeping (OK, so it’s not new, but we didn’t come back online ‘til 2018, so we have some catching up to do), would sound like a well-crafted modern folk song if Vissia had decided to play it old-school with an acoustic guitar and her sisters on harmonies. But wrapped up in full-band instrumentation and loads of that underwatery reverb you hear on a lot of new-generation indie or alt-folk records these days, it’s a more moody and sophisticated number, which lets Alex show off her capacity for nuance.
See Vissia live:
• March 7 – Spero Gala, Edmonton, AB
• Wednesdays in April at the Cameron House, Toronto ON
Debbie Adshade – Toss the Bones (Release date: Jan. 28, 2019)
Well now this is an interesting record. Debbie Adshade has been called the “Godmother of folk” in Saint John, NB, and she appears to exist where Ferron and Sinead O’Connor meet fantasy novels, Gregorian chants, Celtic, jazz and new age music. The songs from her new album, her first since 2004, are inspired by New Brunswick poetry – Debbie is from New Brunswick – but they have a distinctive spiritual and metaphysical vibe, and the production is shrouded in Celtic gloom. Debbie’s voice – whose resonance on the low-end approaches Ferron’s and on the high end approaches Sinead’s – has a timbre that at times nearly matches that of her electric guitar, creating almost drone-like passages. In fact, this album sometimes feels like a showcase of Debbie’s versatility as a vocalist. The opening title track features a chorus of vocalizations that recall traditional Indigenous singing (The Moose doesn’t know enough about Debbie to know whether this is appropriate or appropriation). The chorus of “Sancte” sounds very much like it was inspired by Gregorian chant – and, given that it is a Roman Catholic prayer, that would make some sense. And “Happy” has a modern-day bluesy jazzy feel. It’s a captivating record with a ton of atmosphere, and the moose is digging it.
Joe Nolan – Cry Baby (Release date: Sep. 21, 2018)
How does Joe Nolan make being down in the dumps so immensely listenable? I dunno. Maybe it’s the fact that he sounds like a mixture of Joe Cocker and a young Bruce Springsteen. Maybe it’s the delightful mixture of influences from pop, rock and classic soul, coupled with blistering shards of electric guitar, fuzz and distortion and a dash of punk rock attitude – like when he damn near vomits out the lyrical hook to “Blackout Drunk.” Maybe it’s just the fact that Joe is one of those writers who isn’t afraid to go deep, as they say. Maybe it’s all of those things. The Moose doesn’t know. All he knows is he wants to lay here all day with his hooves in the air listening. But he’s in a bit of a conflicted situation now. The moose is a nice guy. He really wants Joe to feel better after processing his pain through this recording. But the Moose also really loves this record. Is it wrong to not want Joe to feel TOO much better?
Missy Bauman – “Two Sisters” (Release date: Feb. 14, 2019)
Speaking of processing one’s pain through music, nobody does it better than Missy Bauman on this song. We first featured the demo here on Roots Music Canada after Missy won a Folk Music Ontario Songs from the Heart award for it. She’s now officially releasing it on Valentine’s Day – the Moose approves of the timing – so we’re featuring it here again, because, really, we can’t say enough good things about it. It’s a raw, honest, brave, chronicle of sexual assault – not one, but two – and it deserves to be heard far and wide. Four hooves up.
See Missy live:
• March 14 – Heartwood Hall, Owen Sound, ON
• March 21 – The Tranzac, Toronto, ON
• March 22 – Hillside House, Guelph, ON
• March 23 – The Coach House, Brantford, ON