Boxin’ the Vox, Suzi Kory, Rob Murphy, Big Little Lions & Michael Bernard Fitzgerald
Gordy the Moose presents some of his favourite new music from the submissions that have arrived in the Roots Music Canada virtual mailbox.
Boxin’ the Vox – “The Whiskey War” (Release date: June 1, 2020)
Here at Roots Music Canada we only cover non-Canadians if there’s a really good reason for it. Well, you got us, Boxin’ the Vox. We couldn’t deny that this was a good reason: this album includes a song about the whiskey war between Canada and Denmark.
“What whiskey war?” you ask. I assume they’re talking about the “war” over the disputed territory of Hans Island, which lies between Greenland and the Canadian north. Unable to agree on who owns the island, Canadian and Danish diplomats periodically visit it to plant their flag and leave either a bottle of Canadian whiskey or Danish Schapps, to stake their claim. This Dutch band was duly amused by all of this, as most people would be, and wrote this little ditty about us.
Suzi Kory – “Love Revolution” (Release date: June 18, 2020)
Suzi Kory is a country-rock singer who cites Axl Rose of Guns n’ Roses as one of her biggest inspirations. There’s no question she has a big big voice, and this is a gigantic bombastic song, especially as slow songs go. There’s plenty of production polish on it too, but I’m not complaining. I’m curious to hear more from Suzi after listening to this track.
Rob Murphy – “Ghosts” (Release date: May 20, 2020)
I’m a pretty big fan of the stuff Rob’s been sending to us at Roots Music Canada, and this one is another winner. “Ghosts” is a song about forgotten mining towns on Cape Breton, and the story is one that resonates in depressed former resource towns across the country: business closures, poverty and addiction. They say “write what you know,” and you can tell that Rob, whose dad was a coal miner, really feels this song when he’s singing it.
Michael Bernard Fitzgerald – “Our River” (Release date: May 15, 2020)
Calgary’s Michael Bernard Fitzgerald already earned a shout out on this web site for his ingenious way of earning a living from live music this summer: hosting nightly shows in his backyard for four people and charging a premium to get in. I’d pay for a night in Michael’s backyard after listening to this recent single. Michael has a stirring, atmospheric modern folk sound that feels just right for summer garden parties. This number, about longing for something more real than working life in the city, is at once dreamy and melancholy and very much in sync with how a lot of people have found themselves thinking in the era of COVID-19.
Big Little Lions – “Rise” (Release date: June 5, 2020)
This is a different kind of song from Big Little Lions, who I normally associate with catchy, mostly upbeat folk pop music. But this isn’t exactly a catchy upbeat time, so it’s neat to hear a more low-key and melancholy side to this talented cross-border duo of Helen Austin (from Vancouver Island) and Paul Otten (of Ohio). Considering they’re not even allowed to visit each other, they’ve been embarrassingly productive during lockdown — embarrassing for those of us who have failed to live up to their work output that is. This is already their second single since March. And hat’s off to whoever produced this stop motion video set in somebody’s sweet little doll house.