Bill Bourne, Paul Cafcae, Kennedy Road, and Trent Agecoutay
Gordy the Moose opened up the Roots Music Canada virtual mailbox after a month off due to COVID-19, and he couldn’t believe how much music poured out. He’s still working his way through all of the tunes, and he’ll be writing some bonus moose columns to feature more of his favourites, but here are some highlights so far.
Bill Bourne – “Hunker Down” (Release date: Apr. 15, 2020)
“Hunker Down” is the first single from Bill’s forthcoming album, Love & Art, which is due this fall. It’s not clear if it was inspired by COVID-19-related lockdowns, but it certainly is a propos of the times. It’s a stunningly beautiful track with a very easy-going feel that sees Bill’s voice soaring to soulful heights. And while it is a solo track, it has a Malagasy vibe that evokes his collaborations with Madagascar Slim and Lester Quitzau in Tri-Continental. If this was indeed written during lockdown, then I selfishly hope Edmonton stays locked up for a while so we can hear more like this from Bill. I’m absolutely dying to hear the new album.
Paul Cafcae – Miss July (Release date: Mar. 20, 2020)
I’m not going to lie. Listening to a guy with a Russian accent sing songs that are rooted in western, blues and rockabilly music causes a bit of cognitive dissonance at first. But not long after putting Paul’s record on, I notice that I can’t seem to bring myself to skip through a track. Paul – who was born in the U.S.S.R., studied accordion from age six, and moved to Canada in 2009 – is a compelling and versatile songwriter, and his cinematic arrangements are drenched in vintage sounds. He’s also a wizard on the guitar, as is evidenced on the opening number, “Heartbreak Train,” and he shows a little wokeness on “Once Had a Girl,” a song about loving women as they are – tall, fat, awkward. Is there anything not to love about this guy?
Kennedy Road – A Little Fight Left Yet (Release Date: Mar. 24, 2020)
Kennedy Road is a new act on the scene but it’s comprised of two veteran performers: Sheila Carabine of the Juno nominated folk duo Dala and singer-songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Brian MacMillan, who has performed with Barenaked Ladies, the Wailin’ Jennys and John McDermott. Not surprisingly, their debut album is a finely-crafted little gem featuring delectable homespun harmonies and stirring (mostly) acoustic arrangements. I could see this making a few year-end lists this year.
Trent Agecoutay – “A Place to Call Home” (Release date: Mar. 21, 2020)
Trent is a country-rock artist from Cowessess First Nation who currently works as a housing outreach worker in Edmonton. His work in the inner city has inspired him to compose a new E.P. titled YEG a Place to Call Home featuring songs that reflect the diversity of the urban Indigenous community and touch on experiences of homelessness. This single, the title track, does exactly that without a hint of cliché or sentimentality, all in the context of an up-tempo country rocker.