THE WARPED 45s CD release party with ROMNEY GETTY and DYLAN MURRAY at the Dakota Tavern (249 Ossington), tonight (Thursday, May 29). $5. 416-850-4579, www.myspace.com/thewarped45s. Rating: NNNNN
The tiny “final issue” notice on the cover of country bible No Depression magazine’s May-June issue is further evidence that the twang trend is all but over. The writing was on the wall three years ago, when Gary Louris gave notice that the Jayhawks were finished and the only people surprised were those who had no idea the Minneapolis flagship group was still together.
Of course, country rock won’t go quietly. It will still be played and enjoyed in cities all across North America, particularly here in Toronto, just as it was in the years before trucker caps were a fashion statement.
So while it may seem like a bad career move to release a new record inspired by the Gram Parsons-period Flying Burrito Brothers and the Band, the Warped 45s have gone and done it anyway. Not that singer/guitarist Ryan Wayne and his co-writer-cousin Dave McEathron are natural-born contrarians. They’re simply playing what comes naturally, having grown up in a family filled with strum-happy folkies.
“My dad and my uncle lived side-by-side with five sisters in the Algonquin Park area, and from the time we were little kids, Dave and I would sit around listening to their jam sessions and all the records they’d play,” Ryan says. “If you’re only ever hearing stuff by artists like John Prine and Townes Van Zandt, that becomes the standard. I just figured everyone wrote like that when I began writing songs as a kid.”
The warm reception the Warped 45s have been receiving, from club audiences to programmers at CBC Radio 3 and Radio One to musicians on the local scene, has been very advantageous. Andrew Penner of the Sun Parlor Players adds vocals and lap steel sweetening to Why Have You Passed Me By Grim Reaper, the standout track on their self-titled six-song EP, which was produced by John Critchley of 13 Engines notoriety.
“Working with John was amazing. It was just like having him as a member of the group. He was very serious about getting everything to sound right. John likes to get a live feel in the studio by putting down solid bass and drum tracks and building from there, which worked for us because we were after a rawer sound… kinda like the feel of one of the Band’s early albums.”
With two prolific songwriters in the group, there’s no shortage of Warped 45s material (they’ve got three albums’ worth of new tunes ready to go), so they’re heading back into the studio in August.
“We’re still trying to decide whether we should do another EP or an album, and that’s got to do with money, or I should say lack of money.
“This band can make a lot of records for years to come. We’ll be here for a while.”
YOU KNOW ALT-COUNTRY IS HISTORY WHEN...
Bloodshot Records’ annual Yard Dog bash at SXSW doesn’t run out of free beer in the first hour.
Austin-based New West Records signs shock rocker Alice Cooper.
The Jayhawks’ Gary Louris and Mark Olson record a comeback album with Chris Robinson producing and it gets shelved.
Blue Rodeo starts releasing CDs with flowery tissue-box sleeve art.
Universal Music begins repackaging Whiskeytown’s lesser albums as deluxe editions, with a bonus Fleetwood Mac cover as a selling point.
Bruce Springsteen invites Alejandro Escovedo onstage for an impromptu duet.
Singer/songwriter Robbie Fulks becomes better known for his family ties to The Amazing Race’s grandpa/grandson “Team Lazy,” who finish third.