Bluebird with Raising the Fawn as part of Wavelength at Lee's Palace (529 Bloor West), Sunday (December 9). Pwyc. 416-532-1598. Rating: NNNNN
ladies and country music go to-gether in this city like dirt and spurs, so it's no surprise that a doggone lot more cowgals are riding out from beyond the horizon. Bluebird's vocalist and Hofner President guitarist Cindy Archer (aka Cindy Lou Cindy) may have left her pony and family in England some years ago, but she successfully combines British musical traditions with her country leanings.
She grew up with the Everly Brothers and the Beatles on her mom's side and the Buzzcocks (her favourite band) and Stiff Little Fingers on her dad's. Add Archer's love of old country and the inspiration of songster stylings by local Frank Nevada, and you get a strong affinity for three-minute punch-packed songs.
"The thing about country music is that you can write the corniest words in the world and they can come out sounding like an adult contemporary pop song or a hair metal song," explains Archer from her Toronto abode behind the train tracks.
"Old country's got this arbitrary sentimentality to it that doesn't really bash you over the head with any lofty political ideas, and it's very melodic. I like the simplicity of the chords and chord changes and themes. I like trains, cheating, deadbeat spouses, heartbreak and alcoholism."
As is obvious from her lyrical interests, Archer isn't a new kid on the block and is well acquainted with the Toronto music scene. She's been a visual artist for years and a promoter of after-hours live music parties in the 90s in support of her long-since-defunct literary zine, Whip.
"Starting to play music when you're 30 may sound really weird to a lot of people, and I myself to thought, "Oh, I'm too old to start this lark, I've never done it before,'" says Archer in anticipation of Bluebird's Sunday-night Wavelength gig at Lee's. "But I think for the kinda stuff I do, you really need to be older and have some crappy experiences under your belt."
Being on the scene's also helped her stack her band. Though Made's Simon Bedford-James (aka Rowdie B. Haviour) on bass, the Co-operators' Sara Montgomery (aka Bernice Bernaise) on guitar and the Mercurymen's Marty Knox (aka Clutch Clampitt) on the skins all may have come from different musical genres, they've coalesced to inspire new songwriter Archer.
Bluebird's future plans include the making of a four-song EP with 13 Engine's John Critchley and an extended pub tour of the British Isles so they can get back to their roots -- every one of them holds British citizenship -- and play for their kinfolk.