Toronto has its fair share of indie roots acts, but few are as captivating as the Schomberg Fair. Gospel delivers a collection of visceral bluegrass- and gospel-influenced tracks that hit like a swift kick to the gut.
Most are propelled by banjo and delivered at a breakneck pace closer to the Ramones than Pete Seeger. Even the slower Trouble Will Soon Be Over conjures images of whisky-driven hoedowns and church revolt. And while Matt Bahen’s compositions are impressively authentic, it’s Nathan Sidon’s punk rock bass and impossibly low counterpoint vocals that steal the show.
The local trio’s music belongs to a tradition that reaches back centuries, but Gospel is as fresh as anything occupying record-store shelves today.
Top track: Drunkard’s Prayer
The Schomberg Fair play Sneaky Dee’s Friday (March 12) as part of CMF.