Tag: Winnipeg



The up-and-coming Winnipeg, MB-based quartet Living Hour can trace their origins to basement jam sessions, writing dreamy songs inspired by the cinematic sky of their hometown. And as a result their sound, which possesses elements of shimmering guitar pop, swirling synths and ethereal vocals draws equally from classic shoegaze, dream pop and chillwave is both stunningly gorgeous and dramatic, as you’ll hear on their  latest single “Seagull,” a single that sounds as though it could have been released during 120 Minutes-era MTV — in particular think of Mazzy Star‘s “Fade Into You” and you’ll see exactly what I’m getting at.  (In other words, it’s the sort of song that would have been the soundtrack of an intense and fervent make out session — or would have been the soundtrack of a teenaged breakup.)

It’s been a busy year or so for the Canadian quartet. They contributed two songs to Family Portrait II, a vinyl compilation released by the London/Bristol-based label Art is Hard Records back in April and released a limited run cassette tape of their self titled debut effort through Bloomington, IN-based Tree Machine Records. But 2016 looks to be a breakout year for the band as they signed with Lefse Records, and will be releasing their full-length debut on February 19, 2016, which will be followed by a tour to support the effort. Check out some of the early tour dates below.



March 3    Winnipeg, MB    The Good Will Social Club
March 4    Fargo, ND    The Aquarium
March 6    Des Moines, IA    Des Moines Social Club
March 7    Rock Island, IL    Rozz Tox
March 9    St Louis, MO    Foam
March 11    Denver, CO    Lion’s Lair
March 13    Phoenix, AZ     Trunk Space
March 18    Santa Barbara    CA    FUNZONE
March 19    Fresno    CA    Peeves Pub
March 22    Santa Cruz    CA    Bocci’s Cellar
March 25    Davis    CA    Third Art Space Collective
March 29    Portland    OR    The Analog Cafe
March 31    Bellingham    WA    Loudhouse
April 2    Rossland    BC    The Flying Steamshovel
April 3    Kamloops    BC    Zacks Coffee

Since their formation over four years ago, the Winnipeg, Manitoba-based Canadian roots trio Red Moon Road, comprised of Sheena Rattai (lead vocals, percussion, keys), Daniel Jordan (vocals, guitar, bass drum) and Daniel Péloquin-Hopfner (vocals, mandolin, banjo, guitar, lap steel, keys and delay pedals) have developed a reputation across their native Canada and elsewhere for a remarkably full sound that draws from a variety of influences including Canadiana, Manitoban country, folk music, gospel, soul, jazz, pop and Americana while pairing them with Rattai’s soulful, superstar-in-the-marking vocals, and for a live show that features each of the three multi-instrumentalists switching rapidly switching instruments throughout — with Péloquin-Hopfner known for playing banjo and organ simultaneously! (That’s something I’d love to see with my own eyes!)

L-R: Daniel Péloquin-Hopfner, Sheena Rattai and Daniel Jordan
L-R: Daniel Péloquin-Hopfner, Sheena Rattai and Daniel Jordan

As the story goes, while the Canadian roots trio was in tour in 2012, lead vocalist Sheena Rattai, broke her leg through a Frisbee-catch-gone-horribly-wrong accident that unfortunately lead to the trio being forced to cancel their tour. And as a result, Rattai spent several months recovering and writing, new material — most of which wound up comprising their latest album, Sorrows and Glories, which sees its Stateside release today. Co-produced by David Travers-Smith, a multiple Juno Award-winning, who has worked with The Wailin’ Jennys and Ruth Moody and renowned producer Murray Pulver, who has worked with Doc Walker and Steve Bell, the material on Sorrows and Glories is unsurprisingly, informed by the ups and downs of the healing experience and Canadian folklore — including a song that muses on Winnipeg’s Roslyn Square Apartment Complex, another that retells the tragic story of an 18th Century French aeronaut, as well as straightforward spirituals, while being reportedly being rooted in the sort of storytelling familiar to old school folk and country.

“I’ll Bend But I Won’t Break,” which I have the unique honor of premiering here, pairs Sheena Rattai’s soulful powerhouse vocals with upbeat and jaunty series of banjo chords, guitar played much like a bass guitar at parts, soaring organ chords and gorgeous three part harmonies at the song’s anthemic and powerfully encouraging hook in a song about resilience that’s deeply influenced by personal experience and hard-fought wisdom. As Red Moon Road’s Sheena Rattai explained to me by email, “I used to own this tiny little house in Winnipeg that I lived in all by myself. After a few years of trying to balance the upkeep of it with our rigorous touring schedule I realized that it just wasn’t working. I decided to make my best efforts toward grownup-hood and secure a tenant for the house. I got a tenant named Tom. Turns out, Tom was a terrible tenant! While this sounds like a Dr. Seuss book, it actually ended up being a horrible experience that resulted in my having to sell the house. Needless to say, I didn’t much care for Tom at the time so I wrote an angry song that lyrically has nothing to do with Tom, but emotionally, has everything to do with him. It’s some self-encouragement that people like this that bring chaos into our lives won’t break us. I love the symbolism in how a tree survives a storm; grounding yourself and digging your roots deep.”

While I have to admit that I hope that Rattai doesn’t have any more terrible Toms in her life, the song is both a reminder of the age-old adage of that which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and that all things do pass in time. But it’s also an example of gifted and so rare songwriting — an earnest song that’s personable, richly visual and with an incredibly memorable hook that dozens of songwriters would kill for in any genre. And honestly, based on this trio’s sound, I’m amazed that they’re not bigger than what they are right now; but I think that will be rectified very soon.