Saturday, December 13, 2008

I see your keys hanging in the same place, they haven't moved for a month.

an attempt at
ew, courier
what the hell

an attempt at
why the hell is this bold?
fuck off.

an attempt at defining the rural alberta advantage comes up short. to be frank, they're a rock band, and only one of them out of alberta. why am i not using capitals? i should really use capitals.

Right. So. The RAA (as they're known) are something special. A Toronto-based three-piece that I'm going to throw under Canadiana/folk-rock but that doesn't do them justice. They are the sound of-- well, take a listen.

The Rural Alberta Advantage - Ballad of the RAA

I saw the band in Halifax, opening for Ghost Bees and Laura Barrett. The night before, Laura had mentioned to me that she was a little bit excited to have them in the lineup, felt a little bit small as the headliner coming off such an amazing line of bands as came before (a lineup which also included Boxer the Horse and Rich Aucoin) and stressed the awesomeosity of the RAA. I, therefore, on the bus to Halifax the next day, was beyond excited for the concert. They certainly did not disappoint.

The band is comprised of Nils, the lone Albertan of the lot, singing and guitaring away, Paul (also of Woodhands) on the drums, and Amy, multi-instrumentalist and backup vocals.

Amy was, I think, what gave the band their character. There was the heart and soul of the band, the expat Albertan, playing the guitar, there was the drums keeping everything in order, and then there was Amy, tapping away at a xylophone or a synth or whatever else depending on what the song required. That little addition, the third of the three-piece not being a bass or even a keyboard but a multi-instrumentalist of her orientation, that is what won me over. I sat, and stood, there in the Coconut Grove absolutely enthralled for their whole set, and promptly tracked down a member of the band to pick up a CD.

Now, the CD, Hometowns, has the same stripped down sound of a three-piece in concert, the heartwrenching vocals of hometown exodus which I (see the rant) can fully understand. Exodus and heartbreak, beautiful indie folk-rock supported with strings here and there. But even when strings are added the stripped down mixing and overall sound rings true. One of the songs I have for you below, Don't Haunt This Place features a cello, though if I remember rightly Amy just played the cello part on a synthesizer at the show in Halifax.

From what I can gather, the band has a bit of a cult following here in Sackville, and it's well-deserved. There is something indescribable about them, something wonderful that can only fully be appreciated when experiencing the music. It's simply beautiful, and haunting. Frank, AB, the third and final song I have for you in this post, defines that haunting quality so well. Telling the story of the 1903 mine disaster in Frank, the song is one of those that stops the world, that takes everything outside and stops it, and you just live in the music for a few minutes. A band that can do that is a band that deseves universal laudation.

The RAA - Don't Haunt This Place

The RAA - Frank, AB

Actually, I'll throw this song up here, too, just because it's quite a bit different from the others. Now get out there! Go to their shows, pick up their record, fall in love with the music as I have.

The RAA - The Dethbridge in Lethbridge

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