The Undesirables- Travelling Show   Leave a comment


Welcome back to Fervor Coulee. In my Red Deer Advocate Roots Music column this week I advance several coming shows and feature a review of a dynamic album from The Undesirables.

The Undesirables

Travelling Show

Self-released

Billed as “two grown men, one guitar, and a natural disaster,” Toronto’s The Undesirables have released their third album of original rural soul. This time out, the sound is fuller, more elaborate and refined.

Channeling CCR, Tony Joe White, Bobby Charles, and The Band, this pair reminds me of when Gordie Johnson and Mr. Chill (Big Sugar) did duo shows. They play roots music with palpable elements of rock, folk, country soul, and the blues and make no attempt to hide influences. As a result, the music is honest and familiar, yet completely their own- lush and sophisticated, balanced by the simplicity and sweetness of two voices harmonizing.

One imagines the rough-hewn honesty of The Undesirables’ music is a product of darkened highway, borrowed beds, and gas station meals. Colin Raymond voice is smooth and luxurious, and on tracks as diverse as Night Train, Singing Bones, and Northern Girls, somehow brings to mind both Richard Manuel and Bobbie Gentry. As intriguing as Raymond’s voice is, his sound wouldn’t be nearly as interesting without the instrumentation provided by Sean Cotton; playing several guitars in different styles, Cotton provides the backbone to the band.

Lyrics from the title track summarize the album’s mood: The tree tops sway like a doo-wop group, I got a front row seat on a front yard stoop.

With extravagant packaging- gatefold, a lavish booklet, and inner sleeve- complementing the music, a thoroughly satisfying artistic experience is all but guaranteed from Travelling Show. Take a chance and see if you don’t fall under the spell of The Undesirables.

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