Having spent our Black Friday in downtown Toronto (indulging in just a wee shopping spree ourselves), we arrived at The Dakota Tavern, one of our favorite music rooms, for our evening fix of live music. Having established ‘who was playing where’ in Toronto about a week prior to our excursion, the opportunity to catch Jeremie Albino became the unanimous choice. Recommended to us earlier this year by a prominent Canadian artist during one of our podcasts, and seconded by another Toronto based musician very recently, we simply could not afford to miss this show.
Following a great opening set from Ten Kills The Pack (Sean Sroka), Jeremie Albino would grace the stage, strapping on his acoustic guitar and adjusting his harmonica. And amidst the lively crowd noise you expect to find in a watering hole on a Friday night, it took just a few chords into his opening verse for Jeremie to settle the audience down and gain their attention. Leading off with “Klondike Man,” the short bursts of the mouth organ and fine guitar work perfectly accompanied Jeremie’s raw vocals, filling the room with some powerful country-blues music. Following immediately with another acoustic performance of “Wildfire,” the attention of the room had quickly become fully focused on this one man and his music.
Trading the acoustic for his electric guitar, Jeremie would really amp things up with “Trouble,” adding plenty of grit and some effective slide during this great blues number. A new track, “Midnight Wedding,” would follow, albeit with a complete change of pace. “I’m gonna slow it back down a bit and do a little love song,” he explained. “This is about falling in love and going to the chapel.” With some strong reinforcement from the room towards the new music, Jeremie would continue with another brand new composition; this one dedicated to the memory of the American aviator, Amelia Earhart.
As Jeremie reached for his acoustic guitar and harmonica once more, Sean Sroka would return to the stage with good friend Taylor to perform two songs in succession with him. The first, a fiery shanty titled “Shipwreck,” saw Albino provide the instrumentation, while his friends joined him in some amazing three-part harmonies. Adding an extra acoustic guitar (Sean) and banjo (Taylor) for the next number, the trio would electrify the crowd with “Bottle,” a track that they co-wrote two years ago, and with some split vocal duties, was a clear favorite with the Dakota Tavern faithful too.
As Sean exited the stage, Jeremie asked Taylor to stick around, and the duo were promptly joined by two special guests: Carleigh Aikins (whom we only saw last week with Royal Wood) and Hannah Georgas. And prior to performing the brand new song, “Cabin In The Woods,” Jeremie would inform all that this track will be on his upcoming debut album, with all three ladies on stage contributing to the song, and announcing that “it is just another love song.” Both Taylor and Carleigh would step off the stage shortly afterwards, leaving Jeremie and Hannah together to crank out a stunning cover of the Neil Young classic, “Harvest Moon.” Those craving more would not be disappointed, as Carleigh quickly traded places with Hannah, joining Jeremie to end the night with a lively and passionate cover of the Black Sabbath hit, “Changes.” And if anybody could match Jeremie’s intensity on a song of this nature, Carleigh Aikins is a natural, having all of the necessary credentials with her own raw vocals and stage persona.
Performing for a solid 45 minutes, Jeremie Albino and friends put on quite the show. We arrived at this show with high expectations, and the artist(s) did not disappoint. And if, like us, you have little familiarity with this relative newcomer to the Toronto music scene, then watch this space! Jeremie has all of the tools to really make an impact, with so much natural talent and charisma that will make it impossible for him to stay beneath the radar for too long. Trust us – Jeremie will soon become a household name, and you’ll regret any decisions to ‘maybe catch him later.’ Don’t put off the inevitable! Go see him now, enjoy his country-blues roots music, enjoy his charm, and then go tell all of your friends to do the same. Jeremie Albino is poised to arrive – this shall be a fun ride to experience and witness.
- Klondike Man
- Midnight Wedding
- Cabin In The Woods
- Harvest Moon (Neil Young cover)
- Changes (Black Sabbath cover)