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Joe Charron | The Eisenhauers
May 10 @ 8:00 pm - 10:30 pm PDT$24.00
Joe first stood on stage in front of 200 people when he was 5 years old at a Huntsville, Ontario festival . He remembers being scared to death … but he thrill never left him.
When Joe was a kid he used to sit beside the big old floor model radio with the rotary dial and listen and sing along to his parents’ music… the crooners (Crosby, Clooney, Kaye), the Rat Pack, maybe some Hank Williams. Then, late one night through some freak of nature in the atmoshere he heard Movin’ and a’ Groovin with Cousin Brucie”. It was a show on WABC New York and a wild man going by the moniker of “Cousin Brucie” was playing the Beatles. The British Invasion was on. Joe was never the same after that.
Joe started writing poetry when he was a teenager. While he was at York University in Toronto he started going to The Riverboat club. He got fascinated with the singer/songwriter thing and started putting his words to music. Joe has always been a bookworm and the use of language to paint pictures is his passion. To him the challenge in songwriting has always been to tell a short story in three and a half minutes. Tom Waits’ comment; “Vocabulary is my instrument” has continued to be a signpost.
Joe has appeared on festival stages such as: Mariposa, South Country Fair, Islands Folk Festival, Burns Lake Bluegrass Festival and Coombs Bluegrass Festival. In the late nineties Joe co-produced and hosted a short TV intervew/performance series for Shaw Cable to honor travelling singer/songwriters called Canadian Songsmith with guests like Fred Eaglesmith, David Essig, Bill Bourne, Pat Temple, Will Millar, Joe Hall and Diamond Joe White. Every once in awhile you still see one of the segments pop up on some public channel.
Joe Charron will be accompanied tonight by his band Great?Divide: Don Fraser (dobro & guitar), Michael Burnyeat (fiddle) and Stu MacDonald (bass). Guesting at various points along the way will be Wahl (mandolin) Angela James (cello) and Jane Slemon (flute).
“THIS PLACE CALLED HOME is the title of Joe Charron’s fifth CD. His strong voice is the pitch perfect medium for its 13 tracks. Like old cowboys and poets, Joe packs a whole lot of meaning into just a few simple words. Those old verities, love, honour, pity, pride, sacrifice and compassion are played out in scenes where often the human heart is in conflict with itself. Here are loners, lovers, drifters, dreamers and wanderers facing life’s uncertainties with as much courage as they can. Joe’s keen eye and ear for iconic settings, old stone fences, a single rose on a kitchen table, deserted barns, two-lane highways, the sound of a fiddle in the next room, a blackbird on the wing… even the moon in June, all combine to evoke those places where, taking our chances, we ourselves once walked a little bit lost, a little bit lonesome, a long way from home. Yes, all that’s in there and with a great band to boot, you’ve got yourself a CD that you can leave in permanent rotation on the player.” – Don Davidson, Vancouver, BC
It has been said that all Canadian writing inevitably reflects the almost impenetrable vastness of the land and the great distances that separate us. If The Road We Once Knew by the husband and wife duo of Jeremy Eisenhauer and Sheree Plett Eisenhauer, is any indication, you’d be hard pressed not to come to the same conclusion about Canadian music. Simple, spare and heartbreaking in its directness, the concepts of distance, time and the wavering arcs of separation and reunion have rarely been as compellingly explored as they are in this powerful debut album.
The Road We Once Knew is, at heart, a meditation on change that explores the dynamics of escaping from the city and moving to the country. In the Eisenhauers’ case, the move involved swapping life in metropolitan Vancouver for the relative seclusion of Kaslo, an old lumber town tucked deep in Eastern British Columbia’s Purcell Wilderness Conservatory. The decision to pull up stakes was motivated by the need to find a place with enough peace and quiet to care for Sheree’s mother, who was suffering from a terminal illness. When she passed away not long after they arrived in Kaslo, they suddenly felt cut off and quite alone, with only the ‘trees, lakes, and world around them as friends.’ When Sheree plaintively cries ‘there’s a wilderness inside of me’, on the album’s final cut, it is obvious that she knows of what she sings. Isolation brought unexpected rewards, however, as their seclusion allowed the pair to go inward and reflect, before eventually surfacing and writing music together. This was something that they had been unable to do while they lived in the city with all of its competition and distractions. After twelve years of living and making music together and recording eight solo albums between them as ‘Eisenhauer’ and ‘Sheree Plett’, The Road We Once Knew is their first release under their shared family name.
Realizing the significance of their decision to work together, Jeremy and Sheree wanted to ensure that their new songs got the treatment they deserved, so they bit the bullet, fundraised a handful of cash, and flew to Nashville to meet Steve Dawson and record at his legendary Henhouse Studio. The attractions of travelling to the country music capital to work with one of North America’s most renowned roots music craftsmen were obvious, but more than that, the journey offered the Eisenhauers the opportunity to focus on their music and songwriting fully, ‘without the beautiful and messy chaos’ of their busy lives to distract them. With kids and a pile of projects awaiting them upon their return to Kaslo, they made the best of their time in Nashville and got down to work right away to record 15 songs in 5 days, with 14 of them making it onto the album.
With its songs of loss, faith and the gratitude of renewal, The Road We Once Knew is the perfect soundtrack for real people trying to live authentic lives. Beautifully played, sung and executed, it is a testament to the healing power of music and the value of wisdom gained from experience. It’s true soul music. Every word and note on it rings true.