Dum dum dum, dum dum dum, dum dum dum, dum dum dum…
Wide Mouth Mason
Bass track to My Old Self
As promised (because I like to keep my promises) I am going to do a review/running diary of one of my all-time favourite albums, the self-titled debut disc by Wide Mouth Mason. This album was released in 1997 when I was still in high school, and absolutely blew me away. For those who are unfamiliar with Wide Mouth Mason they are a trio from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, who have found moderate success in Canada. Their first two albums were by far the best, with their debut simply rocking from track 1 – 12. I have seen them live 3 times over the years. The first time was behind Theatre Aquarius in downtown Hamilton, on a bill that included Finger Eleven in one of their first gigs after the name change.
This album kicks off with My Old Self a song Urban Moon covered regularly. Immediately, it’s clear that this album should be cranked to ten. Shaun Verrault was widely heralded as the greatest Canadian guitarist of his era, and virtually every second of the disc is filled with proof. Am I gushing? You bet I am, I love this band.
Track 2, Midnight Rain is one of my favourites. The chorus of Everything is turning round, turning round, and everything is going down, going down, the sun will shince on solid ground, tomorrow when it comes out, is top notch.
For some reason the band fell in love with To Kill A Mockingbird, because the third track Tom Robinson is about that characters sexual activity, and subsequent legal problems. Whereas the movie creates a serious dramatic tone, this song makes me want to dance. I find it interesting that the song actually slows down in the chorus as Shaun sings run run Tom Robinson.
As I said this was a trio, and each band member’s ancestors came from a different part of the world. This was often cited in articles about the group (I read very many) as a reason for their unique sound. One of my friends was hit on by the bass player at a gig, and if you watch him on stage he looks like he’s trying to pick up the whole audience during a set.
For River Song, Shaun breaks out the acoustic guitar, and gets very sorrowful. Wide Mouth Mason does have some similarity to other late 90’s Canadian bands, like The Watchmen for example. Rest assured I liked them too. All my life I’ve tried to be good, or at least to myself, you did what you thought you shoud, but it hurt me like hell.
I met the band at the Burlington Sound of Music Festival years ago. They were quite nice, and despite some serious technical issues put on another great show. I can’t honestly think of anyone I know who heard this band and didn’t like them. At least not until their third and fourth albums, which sort of turned me against the band a little.
After River Song we have another one of the singles This Mourning, a clever pun that harkens back to my own The Sunrises. This is a flat out bluesy song with a generous helping of riffs. I feel like this post has turned me into that guy who sits in his basement with a beer and cranks Lynyrd Skynyrd all night. Maybe I am that guy, except I don’t drink beer. Nah nah nah nah nah nah nah I’ll sing ’til the rain is gone, yes I will, yes I will yea yea. At the end of the song, before a great solo, Shaun breaks out his, is it a man or is it a woman?!? voice. Love it.
The thing that’s great about this album is that it never misses! Not even once.
The Preacherman’s Song. Growing up on the prairies I’m sure the band was confronted with religion all the time. Canada still has a lot of very religious people in it, despite our image as a fairly secular place. This song shows a little bit of that soul with some dobro thrown in for good measure. If I’m right or I’m wrong I guess only God knows…even fools can be right now and then…you can the biggest army surrender for something as small as a kiss. This song is rich in imagery, particularly of the kind that I am familiar with as a religion scholar (in a former life).
Alright so I’ve reached the midpoint of the album and am way past my usual word limit for the blog. Come back tomorrow for part two of this wonderful journey down memory lane!