Having attended three straight concerts by Canadian artists here on US soil over the past ten days (Colter Wall, The Small Glories & Rose Cousins), Team GDW packed up the car once again and followed the southward facing arrow on the compass for yet another evening of music with one of our favorite artists. Making a 3.5 hour drive into Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, we arrived at the Prism Coffeehouse on a scorching Saturday evening to enjoy another rendezvous with PEI trio, The East Pointers.
Making their Charlottesville debut at this venue just twelve months ago, Tim Chaisson (violin/guitar/percussion/vocals), Koady Chaisson (banjo/bass pedals/vocals) and Jake Charron (keyboards/guitar/vocals) earned an invitation to return and share their interpretation of traditional-modern Maritimes music once more. Performing to a packed coffeehouse of about 75 people, The East Pointers would naturally share many popular vocal and instrumental tracks from both their 2017 “What We Leave Behind” and 2015 “Secret Victory” albums. And with the recent announcement of a new album being close to completion for release this fall, the trio would delight everybody with two brand new self-composed instrumental pieces.
Announcing that the show would consist of two sets, Tim would inform the room about having returned to the studio, before introducing one of these new instrumental tracks, titled “Light Bright.” Following immediately with the popular track, “Two Weeks,” the band quickly earned the full attention and appreciation of the room. Pausing for a brief moment in-between tracks, Tim would turn to face his first cousin. “Great shirt Koady, you got there,” he stated, making reference to the very bright shirt being donned by Koady. “Thanks Tim, but I feel like Jake has the newest colorful shirt,” Koady responded, drawing all eyes in the room towards the keyboards. “I’ve got a bit of the new clothes glow about me today,” joked the Barrie, ON native, who had also selected a very bright shirt to wear on this evening.
With an even mix of traditionally inspired instrumental numbers and some self-composed vocal tracks, all three gentlemen conversed with the audience throughout their 1 hour 40 minute show too. Along with their jokes about shirts and shoes, Tim would confess to finally reading Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables, unlike Koady, who added that he may not have read the book, but he’d seen the play at least half a dozen times. And as is typical of their repertoire, there were frequent tales of their musical roots and heritage interspersed throughout the night too. “Koady and I are from PEI, and fiddling goes back seven generations in our family,” shared Tim. “So when it came to us, there was a little bit of pressure.” “Tim very nicely puts it as we were strongly encouraged,” added Koady. “But I would say forced.” Eliciting chuckles from the room, Tim would continue. “If you’re forced to be a fiddle player, like Koady, you just end up being a banjo player.”
While Tim often handles the lead vocal duties as and when required, the trio would perform “Hid In Your Heart,” with all three huddled around one microphone to flex their stunning three-part harmonies. Congregating around one microphone once more later that evening, Koady would reminisce about life in PEI. “The town that we grew up in had a population of 1000 on a good day, and 120 of them are my first cousins, so yeah, do the math,” he joked. “But this town had an amazing songwriter, and one that a lot of people in the community kind of took for granted and the songs he wrote … about all the struggles that come with living on the east coast of Canada.” With this seamless transition from light-hearted banter to the seriousness of his tale, Koady continued. “There’s a joke that whenever the recession hits there, nothing’s gonna change. Atlantic Canada has been in recession for 200 years, and it’s kind of true. But he wrote about those struggles, among other things, and we lost him a few years ago to cancer, and it just left this massive void in our little town.” With no instruments to hand, the trio would pay tribute to their lost local compadre, allowing nothing but their soothing harmonies to resonate in an otherwise silent and respectful room.
Closing with the always popular “John Wallace” (complete with some very active audience participation when prompted) and the lively “Meals By Maurice,” The East Pointers took their bows and exited the stage. Hanging in our vicinity for a short 15 seconds (was not easy to escape the packed room), the trio returned to the stage once more for an encore performance. I must confess that I was expecting them to perform their cover of the David Bowie track, “Heroes,” but was pleasantly surprised that they opted to share their recently publicized cover of Nirvana’s “In Bloom” instead. With a well earned round of applause following this tune, the band wrapped up with one final instrumental number to send the audience home, many of whom will have the opportunity to catch them again very soon at the nearby Red Wing Roots Music Festival in July. If you are in this part of Virginia around that time, we highly recommend you check out this incredibly talented trio for yourselves.
- Light Bright ***New Track***
- Two Weeks
- Party Wave
- 82 Fires
- What We Leave Behind
- Idle Jig
- Hid In Your Heart
- ***Unknown Title***
- Miner’s Dream
- Before My Time ***New Track***
- Blainie (sic)
- John Wallace
- Meals By Maurice
- In Bloom (Nirvana cover)
- No Bridge Too Far (?)