Posts Tagged ‘1997’

Pardon My Eyes But I Can’t See

December 3, 2008

As we write this news item, Shaun Verreault of Wide Mouth Mason is on a train making its way throughout a number of US states to raise awareness and donations to local food banks in the area as part of the 2008 Canadian Pacific Railway Holiday Train!

Recent post on the official Wide Mouth Mason website.

Welcome to Part II of my review/running diary of Wide Mouth Mason by, appropriately, Wide Mouth Mason. Part I was yesterday’s entry. If you haven’t picked up this album in the last 11 years since it was released, get out there and buy it! I’m sure you can get it at The Beat Goes On, and I see it’s on iTunes. I added the link above because I think it’s a great cause. If you go to the site you can get more info and hopefully help out. (What? I have an agenda? Never!)

The next song on this musical journey is The Game. I love the fullness of the Wide Mouth Mason sound.  If you want to just rock to loud guitars this disc is for you. I see the face of a man in a jailyard looking at me as I drive by can’t escape me, I’m tied up just as tightly but I sing in my chains. This song has the best solo on the album. I love how they pan it back and forth from right to left, making full use of stereo!

All It Amounts To. If you’ll excuse the pun, all this album amounts to is a classic of Canadian rock. I think Wide Mouth Mason is often dismissed as a flash in the pan from the late 90’s, but I think their musical accomlishments (even just on this one album) are bigger than that. I want to be, yea, and I want to see, yea yea.

I should point out that I have not heard the band’s fifth album. I drifted away from them after Rained Out Parade (I think I’ve only listened to it twice).  Apparently Shaun Verrault and Earl Pereira have both done other projects, and the band is currently working on new material. After relistening to this album I’d like to check out their 2005 output.

I’ve reached a song with a very prairie title, Corn Rows, which has a little more mellow feel, but is still filled with nice riffs and more falsetto singing.  It’s a good sign that there are just three tracks left and I’m still swaying along. But you sleep at nighttime and I can’t understand how you ever did. I also remember every word to every song after probably 5 years. That’s one mark of a great album.

Two things I just found out that I didn’t know: 1) the dobro we heard on The Preacherman’s Song was Colin James (of Corner Gas fame, just kidding, though he was on an episode as himself) 2) there is a woman credited with back up vocals, but I can’t tell when it’s her and when it’s Shaun.

Sister Sally takes the train down the east side. This song is a real blues tune, with heavy chords, little riffs, and a soulful melody.  These guys could’ve made a living as a blues trio in another life.

Listening to the album you must ask yourself, with the various guitar layers on the record how could they possibly recreate this album on stage? Well they can’t exactly, but they certainly can make you forget all about the album.  Not that they were perfect. In fact I went to one gig where Shaun was using a sampler to play a song, I can’t recall which (maybe Why off of Stew) but his sampler didn’t have the right rhythm and the song sounded horrid. But one mistake is hardly a terrible thing, this is coming from someone who always forgets the lyrics to Beatles songs on stage. Beatles songs! Baby Baby what have you done? That’s part of the chorus to Tell Me. I got a little too into that rant and now the song is basically over.

I have reached the final song, Mary Mary. I used to like a girl named Mary many years ago, and this song always made me think of her. That and Radiohead’s Lucky because that song was playing one night when she turned me down. No worries though because Wide Mouth Mason has never turned me down.

Well it’s been a lot of fun for me listening to this album again and writing down my thoughts, stream of consciousness style. I hope it’s been great for you!

Oh My Lord Lord Lord

December 2, 2008

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!