Headwater & Laura Cortese Acoustic Trio
ST JAMES HALL i
3214 West 10th Ave, Kitsilano
Accessible All ages
Hearing Headwater is like listening to the West Coast of Canada in song. Freewheeling, fierce, sentimental and sexy, the Vancouver quartet has earned its reputation as one of the finest acoustic roots groups around the old-fashioned way: they work their asses off.
Since forming in 2001, the group has logged in thousands of kilometres criss-crossing Western Canada and playing to anyone and everyone willing to give it some love. With hooks, driving rhythms, adventurous steel guitar and mandolin solos, and beautiful three-part vocal harmonies all featured in tight, concise under four-minute songs, they found fans fast. Or they roped them in at first, street busking before gigs rather than hanging out waiting for crowds to come to them.
This is a band of musicians who do what they do because nothing else would be right. No rock star wannabees aloud (nor even "on the quiet" - Ed.?)
Jonas Shandel (guitar, banjo, vocals) and Matt Bryant (mandolin, vocals) started writing songs together in grade school in North Vancouver. They had an electric power trio where Shandel drummed and Bryant did six-string duty and all that really came out of that experience was frustration over volume and never finding a vocalist that fit.
We couldn't find a reliable singer, so we said screw this, we'll do
it, says Shandel.
Unplugging and getting their strum on proved the best thing the two
young musicians ever did. Turns out that both were exceptionally
gifted singers whose songwriting really differed yet held true to the
pair's collective love of Peter Gabriel, Neil Young and John Hiatt.
When instict said it was the right time, they conscripted steel
guitarist Tim Tweedale and Patrick Metzger on upright bass to record
their debut CD My Old Friend (2006). The CD garnered stellar reviews
and gave the guys a document to leave for fans hungry for more. Two of
these early tunes that still get folks singing along in concert are
the loping "Lonely Trail" and full-on boogie down "Out To The
Country." The hired guns enjoyed gigging so much they never left.
hired a band to play behind us on the first album and we formed a
group, adds Bryant.
After hundreds of dates road-testing tunes to find only the best, it
was time to record album two. Enter producer and frequent guest
drummer Marc L'Esperance, (Po'Girl, Ray Condo, Linda McRae) to craft
the lush soundscapes of 2008's Lay You Down. Tackling themes of death,
loss, and of course, love, this CD solidifies Headwater as one of
Canada's strongest young folk and country acts.
We're happy with both CDs, but the new one raises the bar in every
way, says Shandel.
Particularly in the vocals, which we're pretty
It's 11 examples of what we can do, well, and we
hope it's cool for people, says Bryant.
Jonas Shandel released a very impressive solo CD last Summer, and the band played a fine set at English Bay as part of Shorefest 2010. They were also finalists in Shore 104.3 fm's Summer Songsearch contest. Headwater recently found a new rehearsal space on Main Street. Here they are hard at work - as ever - crafting songs for their 3rd CD. The songs - and with luck the CD too - will be featured in this concert.
Headwater comprises Matt Bryant - guitar, mandolin, vocals; Jonas Shandel - guitar, banjo, vocals; Patrick Metzger - upright bass, vocals; Tim Tweedale - steel guitars.
Welding the propulsive grace of ancient fiddle styles to disarmingly open-hearted original pop songs, Laura Cortese has emerged among the most intriguing and versatile, musicians in the bountiful New England post-folk scene. At home in any number of traditional styles, her highly-visible work as a supporting musician (on fiddle, vocals, and bass) includes appearances with Uncle Earl, Tao Seeger, Band of Horses, and - as part of Pete Seeger's 90th birthday celebration at Madison Square Garden - Patterson Hood and Michael Franti. The past two years have found Cortese in creative overdrive, balancing sideman duties, solo tours, and recording sessions with an increased devotion to her own music: a kaleidoscopic hybrid that is enriched by roots music undertones and yet remains defiantly contemporary. 2010 found Cortese releasing an EP trilogy which will soon be followed by a full length LP.
Mariel Vandersteel grew up in the rich musical scene in the San Francisco Bay Area. She spent high school playing for local contra dances, as well as performing and touring with Alasdair Fraser and the San Francisco Scottish Fiddlers and the Black Brothers (the brothers of Frances and Mary Black), while she immersed herself in the traditional music of Ireland, Scotland. She received a cultural grant from the Milwaukee Irish Festival in high school and spent several summers studying traditional Irish music at Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy in Co. Clare and at the Irish Traditional Music Archives in Dublin, Ireland. Mariel moved to Boston in 2005 to attend Berklee College of Music as a scholarship student and has now received a Bachelor's in Violin Performance. While at Berklee, she was asked to be the fiddle player on the 2008 Three Irish Tenors North American Tour. Mariel was a founding member of the eclectic contemporary Scandinavian/Old-Time string band, Blue Moose and the Unbuttoned Zippers (BMUZ).
Aria DiSalvio has performed with chamber groups including the Celestial String Quartet, Trio Dagabo, New Music Works and the Santa Cruz Chamber Orchestra as well as being a lead cellist in the San Francisco Scottish Fiddlers, led by master Scottish Fiddler Alasdair Fraser. As a freelance cellist, she has enjoyed a wide variety of chamber music performance opportunities including regular appearances on the Santa Cruz Chamber Players concert series. As a member of the Monterey Jazz Festival Chamber Orchestra, Aria performed with Roy Hargrove, Charlie Haden and Terrance Blanchard at the Monterey and Big Sur Jazz Festivals. As a recording artist, Aria has worked in a wide variety of styles including Contemporary Classical, Folk, Jazz, Progressive Rock & Electronic. She is very excited to release her first solo CD, The Phoenix, which is a collection of traditional and new tunes in the Celtic style. Aria lives in the Santa Cruz mountains with her husband and two year old son.
We are really looking forward to hearing these amazing young women playing in concert at The Rogue. Meanwhile, you can get a little "taste" on this YouTube video