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Riding shotgun with the devil
Monday, 11.02.2013, 20:20
oh what a night...
Elliott Brood (CAN)
Picture this: «A guy reeking of whisky crashes through your window and it's Harry Dean Stanton and he proceeds to knock in your teeth with an iron.» And the music played to this scene is by Elliott Brood. That's what it says on the blog of this award-winning, hard-country trio from Toronto (a.k.a. Loud, Heavy and Rock'n'Roll).
They've toured with Wilco, Blue Rodeo, Corb Lund and The Sadies, their songs are of today but rummage in the past. Like in their third album «Days into Years» which deals with mortality, aging and the devastating physical and emotional calamity inflicted by war. And despite their undiminished musical power, they've taken the foot of the gas here a bit. Because, while touring in Belgium and France, they honored the graves of numerous fallen soldiers from World War I and couldn't stay immune to these eternal themes of suffering and loss. The result is a musical love letter to life before death, powerful songs centering around the sacrifice of these young men. The words are brutally visual, like scenes in a war film. «We saw all these Canadian names, and it really resonated with us, these young guys who had gone off to war. We knew all about it from reading books, but when you actually visit the place where the battle was fought, it hits you a lot harder. We said, we need to write a record about it.»
The sound of Mark Basso (banjo, guitar, harmonica, vocals), Casey Laforet (acoustic, electric and bass guitar, bass pedals, mandolin, banjo, lap steel, vocals) and Steve Pitkin (percussion, drums, piano, vocals), creates music that's intensive and straight like an arrow with no sentimental flourishes. Their stage shows are like riding shotgun with the devil, bet on it, as advertised, it's like Harry Dean Stanton running amok through your window.
The name of the band refers to a crime committed in rural surroundings in 1926, and this is how the tale went down: «A guy sees a light at night up on a hill, goes to check it out but there's nobody and nothing there. Realizing he's been made a fool of, he returns to his ramshackle farmhouse and surprises a thief. He knocks him dead with a shovel, goes through the unfortunate's pockets, finds a harmonica and a few pieces of paper with writings on it. He buries the body and says:«So long, Mr. Elliott Brood. Thanks for the songs.»
So, with the memory of songs out of the pockets of dead Mr. Elliott Brood, R.I.P., they went and conquered Canada with their first album «Ambassador». Since then, successors like «Days into Years»(«I never be the same again without my youthful heart»)  stormed to the top of the charts and the band's become an institution. Now you get to see them here by us, courtesy of dead Elliott Brood. Don't be too concerned about losing your teeth but you might get knocked senseless.
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