Sunday Morning Coffee:: Roger Dean Young and Ghost Bees

I realize that by only offering up one coast with my morning coffee, I'm selling herohill short. Shane keeps you all up to date on the East coast scene but with all the great music coming out of Halifax lately, I figure he could use some support. So, I'm going to try to feature a Vancouver band and a Halifax band each Sunday.

This week we have two vastly different sounds. The first, courtesy of Vancouver based Roger Dean Young, comes in the form of a poet whose words drift along like tumbleweed in a dusty town. His latest record Threshold - review forthcoming - opens with a track (Keremeos) that exposes you to all of Young's strengths as well as his band. Straddling genres effortlessly, Young's voice starts as a subdued mumble that grabs your attention, like a man quietly telling a story at the end of a bar, but the piano that pushes the track makes it impossible to simply call Young and the Tin Cup another country outfit.

Despite the melancholic, every day imagery Young sings about, the Tin Cup love to experiment with textures and drifts into spaghetti western or free jazz (just listen to the horn swells that fill out Mayberries Soul Revival), but never abandon the rootsy feel. That freedom really balances Young's vocals, especially since he chooses to avoid the bravado so often used by today's country artists. You'd be foolish to say Young doesn't have something to say, you just wonder if he feels his words should ever overshadow the interesting notes that accompany them. The end result is a gentle wash of sounds that fills the room but never overpowers it. This is a band I've long since overlooked - especially after I walked away from the Great Outdoors cd release party blown away by Roger.

Roger and the Tin Cup are playing @ the Rime on Tuesday, October 13th.
MP3:: Juliana Park
MP3:: Simpleton

Ghost Bees is a complete different sound, but no less creative or experimental. Up until Friday, I had never heard of them, but a friend wrote me and email full of praise and a few expletives after their Vancouver show, I decided I better check them out.

This Halifax trio - including two twin sisters (Romy and Sari Lightman) - that can best be described as hauntingly beautiful. I know that is a term that gets tossed around for anyone that uses strings and creaky melodies, but if you listen to this band's tracks, you will agree.

Mixing mandolin and guitar with folky vocals, Ghost Bees comes across as a more accessible Joanna Newsom or avant-garde, folky shoegaze (the driving guitar - albeit acoustic - and vocals on Rebel's Sin would please any fan of head down nodding). I'd like to avoid the obvious mention of how the girl's vocals float around each others (as those comparisons have long since been used up for another Canadian set of musical twins), but the familiarity allows Romy and Sari to push forward and fade back at just the right times.

They haven't released a record yet, so here are a couple of videos to hold you over:


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