Thursday, October 11, 2007

Reviews:: Shotgun Jimmie - The Onlys

Shotgun Jimmie, otherwise known as Jim Killpatrick, is the former frontman of the appropriately named indie outfit Shotgun & Jaybird (well the Shotgun part is appropriate, but Dick Morello is the other founding member, so I don't know where the Jaybird comes from). Shotgun & Jaybird was formed in the Yukon, Dawson City to be precise, when both Dick & Jimmie were living there. They ended up relocating to Sackville, New Brunswick and became a huge part of the scene there, along with fellow recent Sackvillian Julie Doiron, who also began to play with the band.

Unfortunately, Shotgun & Jaybird broke up earlier this year. However, out of that disappointment comes one very positive development - The Onlys, Shotgun Jimmie's first solo album since 2004's The 6000 True Stories Of Love. The album bio describes The Onlys as the "glowing results of a summer spent in seclusion, writing and recording in the parlour of Marshwinds Farm". You can certainly sense the simplicity of summer days spent on a farm throughout the album, but there's plenty of nuances to be found in the songs to ensure they're far from boring. In a way, Jimmie reminds me of John K. Sampson (and not just because the Weakerthans are everywhere right now, well maybe that has something to do with it). Both of them know how to tell an engaging story in a song without burying it in layer after layer of metaphor or symbolism. Layers can be good, but sometimes a simple, well-written song is just as good.

That simplicity is on display on album opener Duet, which meshes a meandering drum beat with keyboards and guitar stabs to provide a backdrop for Jimmie's playful lyrics that invite the user to join him for a song. I've used the term "sing-along" to describe songs before, but this I think this is the first time I've encountered a sing-along about a sing-along. So kudos are due for that. The garage rock of Sparkelution brings to mind the Halifax indie sounds of the 90's a little bit, and it's either about sparking the revolution or starting some kind of sparkler-based revolution. Either works for me. Summersound mixes heavy guitar chords with catchy strummed guitar to create a summery song that is, oddly enough, about a lovely, warm summer day.

As well as being the only song on the album to share a play on words with a Public Enemy album (1994's Muse Sick-N-Hour Mess Age), Muse Sick is a ukulele and drums based ode to having your muse remain your muse, not only for the sake of your art, but for your sanity as well. Very pretty little song. Bedhead is irresistible and probably my favorite song on the album. Driven by a peppy bassline and some twinkling keys, it's easily the catchiest song about oversleeping I've ever heard. Jimmie is joined on the vocals by Ilse Kramer, which helps it standout, and certainly the harmonica near the end doesn't hurt. I also like Janitor's Luck which is about the day jobs most artists need to help pay the bills. The album closes with cereal, which is about finding the perfect topping for a bowl of cereal, and it shows Jimmie's sense of humor. Always a good thing, as the indie rock biz tends to be rather serious most of the time.

The Onlys is the first release for Halifax's Delorean Recordings, and they've got a good one on their hands. Check their site to get your hands on a copy of the album, or check Jimmie live in Eastern Canada this fall:

Oct. 11 Fredericton, NB The Capitol
Oct. 12 Sackville, NB Sackville Music Hall (Sackville CD release)
Oct. 13 Charlottetown, PE Baba's Lounge
Oct. 18 Halifax, NS Ginger's Tavern (Halifax Pop Explosion)
Oct. 20 Montreal, PQ Tricycle Media
Oct. 22 London, ON Alex P. Keaton
Oct. 23 Windsor, ON Phog Lounge
Oct. 25 Toronto, ON Sneaky Dee's
Oct. 26 Guelph, ON New Salsateria
Oct. 27 Hamilton, ON Casbah Lounge

MP3:: Shotgun Jimmie - Onmatopoeia

MP3:: Shotgun Jimmie - Bedhead

Posted at 9:17 AM by naedoo :: 0 comments

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