After 548 concerts in 11 countries since coming together in 2014, including Celtic Connections (Glasgow, Scotland) and National Folk Festival (Canberra, Australia), Gordie Tentrees & Jaxon Haldane are finally releasing their debut album. This collection of songs dropping on 2 March worldwide on European label Greywood Records was recorded with renowned engineer/producer Scott Franchuk (Corb Lund/CKUA) over 5 nights in Western Canada “live” for an audience.
The idea for a live record was inspired by audience members repeatedly asking for a record that sounded like the live experience Gordie & Jaxon were producing each night. Together with 10 instruments (banjo, dobro, cigar box guitars, musical saw, acoustic guitar, porch board bass, harmonica, snare tam and mandolin), brotherly harmonies and masterful storytelling they arrived after years of performing in other bands with a combined 15 records between them.
The album’s first track “Armand” was influenced by the death of the radical Dutch protest singer, and was their first co-write while on tour in the Netherlands the day he died. “29 Loads of Freight” was the title track of Gordie’s first record in 2004 inspired by his songwriting hero Fred Eaglesmith, which coincidently leads to ‘Craft Beards & Man Buns” co-written by Eaglesmith & Tentrees in 2017 after discussing the desire to inform and encourage the millennial generation to check itself. “Junior,” another Haldane/Tentrees tune was derived from the plight every musician faces in the battle between the road and family, something they both work hard to balance.
For both Gordie and Jaxon growing up in the Canadian roots music scene, legendary songwriters Fred Eaglesmith and Willie P Bennett provided stirring examples of music that influenced them, eventually developing mentoring friendships that led to Jaxon’s exquisite take on “Willie’s Diamond Joe,” Haldane also produced the last known Willie P Bennett record before he passed in 2008. Digging back into past records “Holy Moly”, ‘Sideman Blues” “Bottleneck to Wire” were given new life on “Grit,” punctuated by the earnest tongue in cheek love song “Lost” inspired by Tentree’s recent marriage to his wife. In keeping with the initial plan to record songs from each concert that contained magic they included ‘I Don’t Have a Gun” a Tommy Wommack/Will Kimbrough cover that just “cooked” after hearing it played back, as well as including clever road song “Wasted Moments” an ode to Tentree’s favorite near-death moments while touring.
“Grit” will be released this Friday (2 March) and can be pre-ordered here.