Monday, November 18, 2019 | 8:30pm
Linda McRae, Barry James Payne (String Bone), Deni Gauthier
$25 Advance / $30 Door *
BC‘s Hall of Fame Pioneer Artist Linda McRae is a storyteller with a touring career spanning three decades. Her unforgettable melodies and thought-provoking lyrics, imbued with compassion, love and wonder, carve their way into the heart. Her musicianship on banjo, guitar and accordion distinguish her as one of the true, soulful pioneers of honest roots music. She is also an experienced and empathetic teacher presenting her Express Yourself Writing Workshops in partnership with festivals, youth and adult correctional facilities and recovery facilities.
John Apice, No Depression: There is a Linda McRae sound. This Linda McRae sounds like it’s a bottle of wine that has been hidden in a cool damp cellar for 75 years and only recently was uncorked.
Mike Sadava, Penguin Eggs Magazine: She keeps cranking out great songs, and she’s never sounded better. Great grooves and some killer playing. In three words, this album kicks.
Barry James Payne (String Bone)
Americana to the bone, Canadiana in the heart & soul
File under playlist with: Lucinda Williams, Jay Farrar/Son Volt, Wilco, Calexico, Rodney Crowell, Bob Dylan, Steve Earle, Nick Lowe, Elvis Costello.
Heart and home are often elusive for those whose spirits are drawn to the open road.
Sit back, buckle up and ride along with String Bone down winding highways, around sharp turns, on great escapes and daring rescues with searching songs in pursuit of home for an unbound heart.
An unbreakable bone nut creates the essential contact point between a guitar’s strings and the wooden body; String Bone draws the chaotic vibrations of the restless heart closer to its desire for gravity with songs of adventure bearing the weight left behind.
Southern Ontario songwriter Barry James Payne is the architect of String Bone, and brings listeners to a collection of artfully designed songs and stories with “Love & Highways”, his latest full-length recording.
String Bone brings Payne’s true life narratives close to the ear with tender arrangements supporting his gruff sincerity, well worn by the rumble of the road.
In concert, String Bone intertwines with bass, guitar, pedal steel and fiddle accompaniment in a variety of duo and trio combinations, or offers a richly bare solo performance exposing the songs at their core essentials.
Barry James Payne also performs and records with several other musical projects including Celtic powerhouse ‘Rant Maggie Rant’ and alongside Canadian blues veteran Rick Taylor (Willie P. Bennett, Stan Rogers, Colleen Peterson) among others.
Payne’s dedication to music sparked his 10 year long concert series ‘String Bone Presents!’, which sadly ended in 2018, bringing the best of Canadian folk-roots to the stage at Stratford’s Foster’s Inn and Revival House with 12 concerts in each season, concurrent with his “Annual Winter Kitchen Party” series and “Late Night Cafe” series at other Stratford venues.
Many of Payne’s songs on ‘Love & Highways’ as well as his debut ‘nadir’ drive through darkness, betrayal and remorse towards love, light, escape and freedom on the road ahead with String Bone at the wheel.
Payne shares struggles with relationships, and wrestles in the aftermath of lost wishes and broken dreams with an eye towards the next adventure.
Unraveling ten melodic originals and two well-chosen covers from Neil Young and Radiohead, ‘Love & Highways’ features a full complement of players including pedal steel by Steve Wood, electric guitar by the album’s producer Shannon Lyon, cello by Ben Bolt-Martin and violins by Payne’s ‘Rant Maggie Rant’ band-mate Lindsay Schindler.
In the passenger seat on “Love & Highways” is a stellar collection of guest vocalists including Sarah Jane Scouten, Mae Moore and longtime String Bone collaborator Ginger St. James, who also co-wrote ‘Where Do You Go’. Violinist Lindsay Schindler also contributes to trio harmonies on a soaring cover of Neil Young’s “Birds” with Trent Severn collaborators Dayna Manning and Emm Gryner. Roman Tome (New Country Rehab) contributes background vocals to “Somber Eyes”, as well as percussion on five of the album’s tracks.
“Love & Highways” was recorded by Shannon Lyon at Lyon’s Lake Studio in Point Clark and Bayfield, Ontario at sessions through 2015 and 2016, with additional sessions at Stratford’s Knox Presbyterian Church by John Hazen (Loreena McKennitt, Rita Chiarelli, Harry Belafonte).
Resurrected following a lengthy creative blackout for Payne, this music project called String Bone sprung to life in 2006 as an outlet for his reflections on a wealth of life experiences as the foundation for his songwriting. Payne spent his early days hitch-hiking across the vast Canadian landscape to the west coast where he worked odd jobs to survive, eventually involving himself in Vancouver’s burgeoning indie scene and finally working behind the scenes at Cargo Records in the height of the 90’s alternative and Seattle punk-grunge explosion. Eventually, the road brought him back to Southern Ontario and when Cargo bit the dust, not deterred, he found work in corporate life for 6 or 7 years, which almost killed his spirit. Leaving that dog-eat-dog environment he focused more on his writing and wrote 50 songs in 2006 and greased the wheels of his burgeoning music career.
Since then, Payne has toured extensively in Canada, the US and Europe. His song “Midnight Train” found regular rotation on Australia’s national country radio station ABC Country. String Bone was also included in the “Linda’s Playlist” exhibit at the Stratford Perth Museum in 2014 celebrating the region’s music-makers along with Richard Manuel (The Band), John Till (Janis Joplin’s Fill Tilt Boogie Band), Loreena McKennitt, Emm Gryner & Dayna Manning among others.
He has shared the stage with Juno nominees and winners and some among them include Bill Bourne, Danny Michel, Emm Gryner, Luke Doucet, Loreena McKennitt, Linda McRae, Jenny Whitely and has collaborated with the likes of Ginger St. James, Shannon Lyon, Bob Egan (Blue Rodeo, Wilco), and many more.
“…nadir is truly a masterpiece” ~ Music Star (Germany)
“Settle in for the ride – it’s gonna get moody.”
With that playful warning, singer/songwriter Deni Gauthier introduces his ambitious new collection of songs and stories, Passenger.
A true artist, Denis has been creating music as a profession for quite some time. Never heard of him? That’s OK, maybe this will be your little secret now, or maybe you’ll want to tell a few people about this unique, good feeling, rootsy music from the heart of an extraordinary songwriter.
Self-produced in Gauthier’s St. Thomas, Ontario Studio, Passenger is a concept album that weaves Deni’s musings on life, love, and relationships together with stories about characters dealing with change, both positive and negative.
“You live and die a passenger,” Deni explains. “But you can live such a cool and meaningful life. That’s what this record is about.”
Deni is known for his lush but understated songwriting and singing style. He makes effective use of his looping station, as well as ambient guitar noises that add texture to his often haunting melodies. Like his other CDs, Passenger is an ode to beauty and restraint, with insightful lyrics drawn from real experience.
“I wrote these songs with an old campfire guitar, walking up and down the street watching my kids last summer,” he says. “Lyrically, they’re definitely the strongest songs I’ve written.”
Deni’s previous full-length CDs include Quiet Town (2014), i (am) hope (2012), and Man About Town (2011). His songs have been played frequently on CBC Radio 1, and singles including Into the West and All I Really Want have reached top-10 status on radio stations across Canada. He has been nominated for several awards, including the prestigious 2016 Jack Richardson Music Award in the Contemporary Singer/Songwriter category. He plays close to 200 shows per year, and has shared the stage with artists including Jason Collett, The 77s, Craig Cardiff, Kerosene Halo, and many others.
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