Photography by Duncan MacKay :: You may recognize some of the members of Cloudsplitter, as they’re also members of The Butless Chaps and Fond of Tigers (among other bands). The reason guitarist and lead singer Dave Gowans looks so irritatingly familiar to me is because he co-owns Red Cat Records with another member of The Buttless Chaps. He plays an acoustic guitar throughout the set, while Doug Liddle rotates between the banjo (which looks like a swirly electric guitar), the slide guitar (on a stand rather than on his lap) and an electric guitar. Jesse Gander alternates between his bass guitar and the keyboard, giving songs distinctly different undertones. Their music is surprisingly epic, but I expect nothing less from a band that plays with passion. Dave’s vocals are deep and rootsy, and these folk/rock veterans hold their own in the growing music scene. Dave is candid, telling us near the end that “we’ve only got time for a couple more, which is a good thing because I’m getting sweaty. No one likes that.” If you’re into folk, country or roots, you’re sure to enjoy Cloudsplitter.

Coming to this show was a difficult decision to make, as it was held on the same night as The Zolas’ CD Release Party at the Biltmore Cabaret. I decided to send Backstage Vancouver’s photographer Leigh Eldridge to that show, and used this opportunity to continue to break in our newest addition, Duncan MacKay. Not once did I regret attending, because Yukon Blonde is one band you don’t want to miss (unless you’re already going to see The Zolas). Their stage presence and music is like bringing an awesome piece of the past to the present day, and then realizing that you get to keep it. Colin Jones from Red Cedar play keys for the trio, and Andy of Red Cedar plays the bass. Andy will also be touring with Yukon Blonde as they cross Canada from February 18th to March 27th. You can see more photos by Leigh Eldridge from their show with Rah Rah at the Wise Hall in September.

Right place, wrong time / wrong song

RED CEDAR (Band to watch in 2010) Red Cedar Classy J.P., in purple converse shoes, sips red wine throughout the set. 1. Way Back Home – Epic! Warbly voice 2. Teeth – Shaunn sings, sounding like a high-pitched, ethereal indie vet. I can’t get over the power of these songs! Live experiences explain why I don’t listen to recorded music unless I have to. “It’s toasty.” “Love it!” replies J.P. “He’s a man of heat,” explains 3. Raindrops – Switches to acoustic guitar, distinct country feel, another raindrops reference! 4. Part 1 – New song: an instrumental introduction, with some of Colin (and J.P.?)’s musical taste. Colin sings a little harmony on the oo-oo-ohs, which I love in contrast to the heavy toms. Smooth transition to the next song as Colin takes up the Rhodes piano next to their keyboardist. 5. Part 2 – Shaunn sings, I love the sound of his voice, but the other vocalist is much more indie. I love the sound of this one too. Another smooth transition as Colin returns to his drums. 6. Twice As Hard – This is also awesome! Post-folk, anyone? (this may be the epilogue to number 5) “That’s as long as it gets, we promise.” “Thanks for sticking through that one.” 7. Take it Back – A return to indie-folk with more warbly country singing. Great drums at the end! “Just because he’s drinking wine, doesn’t mean he’s French.” Next LP due out in the spring. 8. PEBJ – Shaunn sings, I love his voice. Great jam ending. Crazy dancers in front of me. They wonder why no one else is flailing to the music, but I like my music to move me internally. The best dance party ever ensues.

I caught up with Red Cedar in the back of the Yukon Blonde tour van. Read the full transcript to find out what happens when you talk to five music-lovers about the sounds and smells of Canada.

1. Death on the Plain
2. Fields at Night
3. Tasks at Hand
4. Broken Forgiven
5. Water by the Wayside
6. Cards That Pay
7. Take it All in Stride
8. Straight Lines
9. Start With the Soil

1. Brides Song
2. Blood Cops
3. Wind Blows
4. Rather Be With You
5. Babies Don’t Like Blue Anymore
6. Nico Canmore

1. Way Back Home
2. Teeth
3. Raindrops
4. Part 1
5. Part 2
6. Twice as Hard
7. Take It Back

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