Johnny LaRue (left) and Catl don’t need awards to prove they can rock a party.
CATL CD RELEASE PARTY with $100 and SPEAKING TONGUES at the Silver Dollar (486 Spadina), Friday (January 23), 9 pm. $7. 416-763-9139.
Despite being one of the most exciting blues acts on the Toronto scene in years, Catl weren't among those honoured at the recent Maple Blues Awards gala. In fact, they didn't rate a single nomination.
Since neither the group's namesake guitarist (of Pecola notoriety) nor drummer Johnny LaRue (ex-Exploders, No No Zero) has run over the dog of any Toronto Blues Society member, we can only surmise that they don't move in the right circles.
"We've tried to crack that Toronto Blues Society," says Catl, choosing his words carefully, "but it's fairly impenetrable. Whatever their agenda might be, they don't seem open to what we're doing. A lot of people go for that overly polished generic sound with the same lyrics, structures and delivery, and that's what the TBS embraces.
"I'm not trying to slag those people or the organization. I just can't understand why they wouldn't want to be supportive of younger acts coming up that are more directly connected to the blues tradition than many other contemporary artists. We're trying to bring back the power of those old Charley Patton and Son House recordings."
Having played in various groups on the local indie rock scene much of their adult lives, with little recognition, Catl and LaRue aren't losing any sleep over the apparent snub. They've got more pressing concerns, like launching their swamp boogie blast of a debut album ¿Adónde Vas? A Ningún Lado (Coletrain) at the Silver Dollar Friday night, where they'll also be showing off their new singer/keyboardist, Sarah Kirkpatrick from Shitt Hottt.
"You know how the Sex Pistols used that image of the two buses with their destinations listed as Boredom and Nowhere? That's what I was thinking about when I came up with the album title and sleeve concept, and then our friend Jeff Lemire, who did the Essex County trilogy of graphic novels, provided the amazing artwork.
"It was amazing having Dave McMorrow playing piano on the record, who besides being in Rough Trade also worked with Etta James, Screamin' Jay Hawkins and lots of other people. As great as he is at doing what he does, I'm really glad to have Sarah bringing some stability to the group, and hopefully we won't be hearing any more White Stripes comparisons. Don't get me wrong - I like the White Stripes, I just think they sound more like Led Zeppelin than anything coming out of us."