Yukon roots music songwriter Gordie Tentrees has released his 3rd album, Mercy or Sin, produced by Juno Award-winning producer Bob Hamilton.
Tentrees delivery is so relaxed and unpretentious its impossible to not get drawn into his world. The title track "Mercy or Sin" with Jennie Sosnowski would not sound out of place on John Prines wonderful "In spite of ourselves" album". He recently played at the Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver.
Joining Gordie (dobro, guitar, harmonica) on the "Mercy or Sin" CD release tour is legendary multi-instrumentalist Ken Hermanson (banjo, lapsteel, guitar) and singing sensation Jennie Sosnowski (upright bass).
Gordie Tentrees is from the cold and rustic Yukon Territory and writes like a doppelganger of the preeminent Texas storytellers on his third album, Mercy or Sin. 𠇊lfred” leads off the record, a darkly poignant acoustic tale that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Guy Clark album. (“Walks with a hitch, right side hip, reads a dirt palm, right before he spits, thinks on the rain, hollers for the end, Alfred is old his blood ain't thin.”) But don’t settle in for a languid country/folk songwriter album, because he brings on resophonic guitar and stomp board on a roaring “No Integrity Man.”
This is the much-anticipated follow up to critically-acclaimed Bottleneck to Wire (2007) and 29 Loads of Freight (2004). This album finally captures the bands dynamic live show and unique growth of songwriter Gordie Tentrees. There are 12 tracks delivering story-driven songs, edgy foot-stompers and heart-worn odes that can only be cultivated by a road warrior.
In 2007 Gordie released his new album "Bottleneck to Wire' with special guests Roger Marin (Fred Eaglesmith Band)- pedal steel, Jaxon Haldane (D-Rangers)- banjo, Amelia Rose (Fishhead Stew)- fiddle, Aylie Sparkes- guitar and Kim Barlow- cello.
It is a landmark album.If there is justice in this business, years from now we may be looking back and talking about the recording that brought this Canadian singer songwriter to the forefront of his genre....
John Wort Hannam:
For five years John Wort Hannam taught grade 9 language arts on the largest reserve in Canada The Kainai Nation, part of the Blackfoot Confederacy. But in 1997 he heard a Loudon Wainwright III record and was hooked by the music and the stories. In 1998 he bought a guitar and learnt some chords. In 2002 he quit teaching and began to pursue the dream of being a working musician.
John Wort Hannam comes from a long line of people who make a living using their hands. His great-great grandfather drove horse and buggy for the village doctor. His great-grandfather was a stevedore, his grandfather, a farmer and his father still works as a master carpenter. Wort Hannam now carries on the tradition making his living writing songs and playing music. He independently released his debut CD “pocket full of holes” in 2002 and his 2nd CD “Dynamite and ‘Dozers” in 2004. His third CD “Two-Bit Suit” was released by Black Hen Music in the spring of 2007.
“Queen’s Hotel” is Wort Hannam’s fourth full-length recording. Once again Juno award winning Steve Dawson takes the helm producing 11 tracks of authentic Canadiana folk/roots music. The writing, although true to John’s narrative story-telling style, is tighter, smarter, more personal, and with a breadth of subject matter not seen on previous recordings. The upbeat “With The Grain” (a song for which Wort Hannam won Grand Prize at the 2009 Calgary Folk Music Festival Songwriting Competition) recalls the conversation where John tells his father he would quit teaching to attempt a shot at performing music. “Worth A Damn”, a timeless sounding duet performed with multi-Juno award winner Jenny Whiteley is reminiscent of a John Prine/Iris Dement collaboration. Despite the title, “Requiem For A Small Town” is a rollicking 3 and a half-minute look at the town that just never quite made it. The poignant but catchy “Lucky Strikes” was written after a visit to Fort Macleod’s infamous Queen’s Hotel. Wort Hannam also revisits two songs from previous independent releases: “Church of the Long Grass” which has been called by some “the un-official anthem of southern Alberta” and “Pier 21” which recounts the immigration of Wort Hannam’s family from the island of Jersey in the Channel Islands,UK to Canada in the late 70’s.
“Queen’s Hotel” was recorded live off the floor at Vancouver’s The Factory. Musicians sat in one room facing each other in a circle and played the songs no bed tracks, no click, and no overdubs except for a few harmonies. It captures a realness that sounds less like musicians making a record and more like musicians making music that just happened to be recorded.
With many of the same players: John Wort Hannam on guitar and tenor guitar, Steve Dawson on dobro, national, and weissenborn, John Reischman on mandolin and mandola, Rob Becker on upright bass, Geoff Hicks on percussion, and Jeanne Tolmie,Tyler Bird, and Jenny Whiteley on backing vocals, “Queen’s Hotel” has a pared down and subtler sound compared to Wort Hannam’s previous recordings and leans more on the folkier side of the folk/roots spectrum.
Thriving on live performance, John Wort Hannam is truly happy when he is on the road playing and connecting personally with an audience. He tours extensively in Canada and the US. Recently he returned home from a highly successful mainstage set at the prestigious Kerrville Folk Festival in Texas and will now spend the summer traveling, playing and gearing up for a fall release of “Queen’s Hotel” that will take him across the country and into the US.