Buying new music from The Trews is always an adventure – you never know what the finished product is going to sound like! From their unique and hooky Rock riffs, softer ballads, distinctly Celtic flavors, and acoustic tunes that are more full on music than many bands at their optimum – The Trews are exciting, unpredictable and never boring. One thing’s for certain though, every Trews album is an adventure in well written lyrics, catchy tunage and mastery of their chosen instruments. And with their new acoustic 7 song EP ‘…Thank You and I’m Sorry’ they’ve done it again.
Power of Positive Drinking is a rollicking tune of a relationship gone sideways and having to deal with it “My excuses will not suffice, would it help me if I told you twice, I”m out of control, I’m out of control and you are so *damn beautiful.” Gang vocals, the odd solo guitar lick, combined with the stripped down drumming and piano notes (part time Trews-er Jeff Heisholt), give this song a very ‘early Stones’ feel to it. How the relationship ends is left up to the listener’s imagination, but the singer has the Power of Positive Drinking on his side.
Leaps and Bounds has a very cool drum back beat to it, reminiscent of Celtic hand drum. John-Angus MacDonald (guitars), Jack Syperek (bass), and Sean Dalton (drums) join Colin MacDonald on vocals for most of this song and the harmonies are melodic and engaging on this Australian songwriter, Paul Kelly cover tune. The Trews add their own style, making this song resonate with the sheer joy of being alive and remembering back through life of all the good things.
The stunner and surprise song on the album (and my favorite) is the distinctly old style gospel tune, Lord Keep Me in Mind.
‘Our attempt at Gospel, and influenced by Billy Joe Shaver (Texas Country Music Hall of Fame),” said Colin MacDonald when I asked him about it.
MacDonald’s voice fits perfectly with the blue grass/southern flair of the song’s lyrics and guitar twang (lead guitar licks from Rich Robinson (Black Crowes). The band has done more than ‘attempt’ a Gospel song… the song is emotional, raw, and spiritual. Everything a Gospel song should be.
Oblivion is a light hearted toe tapping tune featuring Rich Robinson on guitar.
Piano strains played by Eddie Harsch (Black Crowes) feature prominently in bluesy ballad Not Yours to Love. MacDonald’s vocal style channels Dylan in sections, and one almost expects the choir to fill in the harmonies in this song. Power chords in the bridge keep this song from becoming maudlin as does Colin’s almost imperceptible laugh at the end!
Herm-aphrodite is a tongue in cheek fun tune that keeps you guessing as to the rest of the story, and also features some great keyboard work. The album closes with …And We are The Trews, a song about touring, music as a profession and way of life, “I have a life, 20 hr drive, sometimes the mission seems to be just to survive.” It’s a thank you to the fans, to the other band members, “here’s to you, and all you do, and all the many ways you’ve pulled me through, and here’s to us, back on the bus.” The song also names almost every single well known Canadian band in history – people that slug it out daily, weekly, yearly, to entertain us all.. who give up their family and home lives for us to enjoy the tunes, including 2 Jakes, Big Sugar, Sam Roberts Band, Stomping Tom, Our Lady Peace, Wide Mouth Mason, Jeff Healey, Teenage Head, Great Big Sea, K D Lang, Broken Social Scene, ‘and every guy in the band who’s named Gordie*, and we are the …. ” Love how they never actually name themselves!
Recorded in a 4 day marathon session in Toronto, much of it live on the floor, this is a solid piece of work that shows a lighter side to the band than their previous 2 albums, and although being an acoustic EP, is still pretty rockin! Check it out tomorrow at all usual outlets, as well as available on iTunes now!
*Gordie is a reference to Gord Sinclair (Tragically Hip) who produced Hope and Ruin, Gordie Johnston (Big Sugar) who helped cowrite and produced this new EP, as well as many other famous Gordies (Tragically Hip, Teenage Head).
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