Frank Patrick, Bobby Dove, Maria and the Band and Blake Alexander
Gordy the Moose presents some of his favourite new music from the submissions that have arrived in the Roots Music Canada virtual mailbox. This is part two of a two-part column.
Frank Patrick – “Mercy” (Release date: Feb. 5, 2021)
I’m not going to lie. I always get a little anxious when I put on a new song about COVID-19 or first responders or frontline workers or whatever. Too much of it feels forced or trite or insincere. It’s as though people feel like they should be writing about this, but they haven’t really figured out what to say yet. And fair enough. We’re all still too busy processing it. Frank Patrick’s song is dedicated to frontline workers, so I was pleasantly surprised that it was none of the above. The moment Frank references John Prine’s “The Great Compromise,” you know he’s going deeper than most. The references to people getting rich off of the PPE shortage and the photos of the poor, the homeless, and the elderly make it clear that when Frank sings “tell me there’s still mercy here,” he’s talking about the big picture response to COVID, not just to the medical one. Couple that with Frank’s weathered vocals and Rebecca Campbell’s gorgeous harmonies and you’ve got a truly moving piece of music by any measure.
Bobby Dove – Hopeless Romantic (Release date: Feb. 12, 2021)
All you have to do is look at the credits on this album to know it’s going to be solid. Produced by Basil Donovan, the album features Jimmy Bowskill on violin, Burke Carroll on pedal steel, Michelle Josef on drums and Jenny Whiteley on backing vocals. But a great band can only do so much if you don’t also have the songs and the chops to deliver the goods, and fortunately, Bobby has both of those things. Ever since debuting in 2016, they’ve been building a reputation for classic sounding country songs that sound like the kind of stuff Hank Williams used to put out. This new album stays the course – which will be good news to Bobby’s existing fans and to anyone who’s into alt.country, or whatever we’re calling it these days.
Maria and the Band – Meu Interior EP (Release date: June 1, 2021)
Maria and the Band is a Canadian/Brazilian band that plays Forró Pé de Serra, a type of Brazilian festival music that originates in the north east and draws from African and European influences. They play original compositions and classics of the genre from pioneers like Luiz Gonzaga. If you live in Toronto, you might’ve caught them at Fedora Upside Down or Small World Music events. Maria and the Band are not, in fact, led by anyone named Maria. Their frontwoman is the beguiling Brazilian vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Jerusa Leão, and their ensemble features the blend of accordion, fiddle and percussion that typifies the genre. If you ask me, I’d say it’s just the right amount of “festival” for a winter spent alone indoors. It’s music you can dance around the house to for sure, and yet somehow, it’s gentle enough that I feel like I could also do yoga to it.
Blake Alexander – “The Usual” (Release date: July 3, 2020)
Blake Alexander is using his not insubstantial hip hop chops on this song to document his close encounter with homelessness and addiction – and his path to recovery. There’s real, raw honesty and vulnerability coming through here as Blake rhymes about having to leave his loved ones behind to get help, about holding on to God to help him cope with the demons that still attack him, and about realizing that everything he’s been through has made him who he is. I for one wish Blake well on his continued journey and hope he continues to put out great songs like this.