Gordie Tentrees & Jaxon Haldane's debut album as a duo seeks to recreate the concert sound they've honed through some pretty hard touring (over 500 shows in 11 countries!). It was recorded live with the help of engineer/producer Scott Franchuk over 5 nights and 5 different venues in Western Canada.
Growing up in the Canadian roots music scene, both artists were originally influenced by popular local songwriters Fred Eaglesmith and Willie P Bennett. This is evident from the inclusion of a cover of Bennett's Willie's Diamond Joe and a new version of the Eaglesmith inspired 29 Loads of Freight which first appeared as the title track of Gordie Tentrees' debut solo record in 2004.
Four other tracks are revived from Tentrees' own albums: Bottleneck to Wire was the title track of his 2007 album, No Integrity Man is from 2009's Mercy Or Sin while Sideman Blues and Holy Moly were both on 2012's North Country Heart.
The mainly unplugged arrangements give fresh vitality to these tunes utilising a wide range of traditional instrumentation include banjo, dobro, cigar box guitars, musical saw, acoustic guitar, porch board bass, harmonica, and mandolin.
The most notable new co-write (and best title) is Craft Beards & Man Buns which features witty jibes aimed at the passing fads of the millennial generation. Another highlight is the bluesy reworking of Tommy Womack's head down no nonsense boogie I Don't Have A Gun.
But it's the personal touches which give the true grit to this fine collection. Lost is inspired by Tentrees' recent marriage while the weariness of constant touring is explicitly covered in the songs Junior and Wasted Moments.
All told, enough of the vibrant energy, humour and humanity comes through to make you wish you'd been to one of these shows.
Gordie Tentrees' website