Kuri, Whiskey Jack, Naomi Kavka, and Rob Murphy
Gordy the Moose is back from the summer festivals to review some of his favourite new music from the submissions that have arrived in the Roots Music Canada virtual mailbox. There’s so much to catch up on from the summer, you can expect a follow-up column shortly.
Kuri – No Village
Scott Currie grew up in Abbotsford, B.C., also known as the bible belt of the lower mainland, so good on him for surviving the cultural wasteland of farms, strip malls and Christian radio to develop such a unique and, I have to say, pretty cool sound. It’s hard to describe actually – contemporary, atmospheric indie folk with lush, orchestral arrangements that definitely hint at global music influences. Scott describes himself as a really analytical guy, who doesn’t process things well emotionally. It could be he pours all of that processing into music instead. There’s definitely a melancholy, reflective feel to this whole album. It’s a stirring listen for a cloudy fall day.
Whiskey Jack – Songs and Stories
Whiskey Jack is perhaps best known as the backing band for Stompin’ Tom Connors from the era of Dr. Stompin’ Tom … Eh? until Tom’s death in 2013. But the fact is, they already had a regular gig on the Tommy Hunter Show back in the 1980s. That’s how Tom discovered them in the first place. Since Tom’s death, the band has been touring a tribute show called “Stories & Songs of Stompin’ Tom,” and there are some East Coast dates on the horizon, which I’ve listed below. If you love old-school country roots and lovely harmonies, Whisky Jack is definitely for you. Rather than post one of their songs, here is a feature interview they did with Jan Hall of Folk Roots Radio, which includes several delightful numbers.
Oct. 2 – Bloomfield Hall, Bloomfield, NB
Oct. 3 – DeCoste Centre, Pictou, NS
Oct. 4 – Y’arc Playhouse, Yarmouth, NS
Oct. 5 – Mermaid Theatre Imperial Performing Arts, Windsor, NS
Oct. 6 – Evergreen Theatre, Margaretsville, NS
Oct. 8 – Second Wind Music Centre, Florenceville-Bristol, NB
Oct. 17 – Sanderson Centre, Brantford, ON
Naomi Kavka – Back West EP
I don’t know what it is about northern British Columbia and the Yukon, but the region produces an awful lot of really compelling artists per capita, and Naomi Kavka of Prince George is one of them. Once the principal cellist with the Prince George Symphony, she has lent her vocals and instrumental skills to a number of acts, including Wax Mannequin, and is known for fronting the alt-country band Pocket Knife and the folk-punk acoustic outfit Power Duo. Her previous projects include an EP called The Hay Fever EP recorded in Koriyama, Japan. This new, two-song EP, due Oct. 30, showcases her haunting alto and beguiling acoustic folk sound – to say nothing of some pretty formidable songwriting chops.
Rob Murphy – “O La La”
Rob Murphy is from Cape Breton, but there’s not a hint of Celtic influence on this number here. It’s pure, heartfelt, acoustic roots-pop marked by a catchy chorus and an ever so slightly gravelly vocal delivery. Rob made his debut in 2017 with a single called “300 Days” about wait times for mental health treatment on Cape Breton. Already, that makes me like Rob an awful lot. But this new song is just ever so promising. I seriously can’t wait to see what Rob puts out next. If this single is any indication, he’s going to be a force to be reckoned with on the folk scene.
Rob Murphy – “O La La”