Gordie Tentrees & Jaxon Haldane
A Sparkling Live Album From Two Wonderful Troubadours.
I remember being pleasantly taken aback by Gordie Tentrees 2015 offering, LESS IS MORE and here I am 3 years later taken aback again!
I guess it’s the timeless yet contemporary way Gordie alongside Jaxon Haldane build so much into their simple sounding Folk songs, which were recorded across five nights at gigs across Western Canada; so much so I found myself checking the CD cover several times to confirm that there really were only two people and their myriad of acoustic instruments were on each song.
The opening song Armand, a Haldane/Tentrees co-write is powerful stuff indeed as Gordie sings about his friend the Dutch Folk-Singer and political activist Herman George van Loenhout aka Armand. Spiky and tender are very rarely used together; but that’s the best way to describe this thoughtful song.
This the type of Singer-songwriter/troubadour fayre that I was first introduced to in the early 1970’s by my big brother Brian and even now it never fails to impress me the imagination and creativity musicians have to enable them to create songs like Bottleneck to Wire and the wonderful Holy Moly (not least for its musical-saw solo); both of which are older songs from Tentrees lovingly dusted off and tenderly sung for the delectation of people across the world.
Some people think that these records are just slung together; but nothing could be further from the truth as the 2004 Tentrees song 29 Loads of Freight, which was inspired by his love for Fred Eaglesmith’s songs leads straight into the Tentrees/Eaglesmith co-write Craft Beards and Man Buns which in lesser hands could have been syrupy twee; but here it’s almost a protest song! Certainly the deadly duo seem to feel the same way about trendy-bendy things that some deem ‘cool’ annoy them as much as they do me.
There are two ‘muso’ songs here too; well songs written about the sad and lonely life of the touring musician, and both will appeal to all of my musician friends, with Sideman being a 70 mph Bluesy blast on the banjo and National Steel and the sad ode to missing your children growing up, Junior will surely bring a tear to a bass players eye.
Selecting my Favourite track here was a straight choice between a Willie P Bennett song Willie’s Diamond Blues, which is as sharp as a razor and as dark as night, and Tentree’s own smart, slick and savvy love song Lost; and I’m tempted to go for the latter as it’s the type of song I mostly associate with Gordie Tentrees (and now Jaxon Haldane too).
Cleverly recorded with occasional applause and laughter, this album really does capture the magic that these two musicians create on stage; yet unlike ‘live albums’ of old won’t date.
Released UK January 11th 2019