Archive for the ‘Rodney Decroo’ Tag

Rodney DeCroo- Old Tenement Man review   Leave a comment


Rodney DeCroo New Tenement Man

Vancouver’s Rodney DeCroo is likely Canada’s most consistent neo-folk, rock ‘n’ roll singer. Over the course of six wide-ranging albums, the impressive wordsmith has never taken a significant ill-conceived turn.

The early Rodney DeCroo and the Killers and War Torn Man seethed with aggressive and poetic interpretations of his surroundings, while later releases including the imaginative Campfires on the Moon revealed songs of great intensity bound by the darkness of isolation, pain, and creativity.

I once wrote that DeCroo is a “product of his environment—for good and bad—a raven seeking salvation in the detritus of emotional upheaval, both his own and in those he has impacted,” and one listen to Old Tenement Man reveals that not a lot has changed in that regard. For example, the lead track, “Jack Taylor,” is a Crazy Horse-fueled first-person account of patricide and self-justification.

DeCroo no longer falls back on Dylaneque habits, charmingly apparent on early recordings. Having established some time ago an approach uniquely his own, DeCroo reveals that he can run with the big dogs, be they Jason Isbell, Chuck Prophet, or Neil friggin’ Young himself. On the radio-friendly (in an alternate universe) “Ten Thousand Feet Tall,” DeCroo’s ‘hero’ waits for his city to be burned down by “an acid dawn,” confident in his own invincibility. Surrounded by this impending cataclysm, recounting disparate memories and hallucinations, the tension magnifies with each disturbing image shared.

Produced by Lorrie Matheson, Old Tenement Man isn’t necessarily a ‘roots’ album, but it certainly fits into the rockier side of Americana. With DeCroo (guitar) and Matheson (guitar, bass, keyboards) providing the bulk of the instrumentation, along with drummer Chris Dadge, the album has a full-bodied sound. The arrangements are appealing, providing the contrast needed for a completely satisfying album experience. “Radio” is full of possibilities, “Little Hunger” aches, and “Lou Reed on the Radio” is much more than a convenient name-check, and full credit for the sly, vocal bridge allusion. “The Barrel Has A Dark Eye” is nothing short of brilliant, cleverly structured with a nod to the ubiquitous classic rock performances we grew up on.

DeCroo’s creations—his songs, his narratives, his arrangements, and his characters—are seldom one-dimensional, and I am sure more than a little slips past me as I nod to the groove. That’s what I appreciate about songwriters and performers like DeCroo: there is always something new to discover.

How many years ago did I first hear “Tudor House Hotel,” “Dead Man’s Town,” and “Ginger Goodwin?” A dozen? Yet, listening to them again this week, I was newly impressed by elements previously missed or under-appreciated. I am confident that I will be similarly reinvigorated when I hear “Like Jacob When He Felt the Angel’s Touch” and “In The Backrooms of Romance” in a decade.

Old Tenement Man slipped past me when it was released in early summer, 2017. My loss as it is a compelling, attractive rock album that pushes the boundaries of roots music while maintaining and enhancing its foundations: experiences and stories that communicate elemental truths in a literary manner.


Canadian Songwriters in Action- Review   1 comment

brockOver at the Lonesome Road Review, we did something different a couple weeks ago by reviewing three excellent albums in one piece. The latest albums from singer-songwriters gordieBrock Zeman, Gordie Tentrees, and Rodney DeCroo are the focus, and all I can say is, Wow! What a slate of discs- personal, introspective, and poetically charming. Yup, we have great singers and writers up this way, no doubt.

Thanks for visiting Fervor Coulee. Donaldrodney

Herald Nix & Rodney DeCroo in Red Deer   Leave a comment

rodney-herald-80dpiA show coming up in Red Deer next week- spreading the word. Herald Nix (who I saw open for The Clash a lifetime ago) and Rodney DeCroo (who I’ve written about here) team up for a ‘house’ concert…but not in a house. Details below. I’ve seen both within intimate settings, and they are superb, me thinks.

Hey Everybody! Heads up on a show next Wednesday June 19th…. Next week! It’s a Studio concert featuring Rodney DeCroo and Herald Nix, which will be very much like a house concert. Hoping to have about 30 people. There will be refreshments available. Show starts at 7:30, Tix are $15 available at 53rd St Music. Should be a fun time in a nice intimate setting. Call 403.391.2567 for more info.

Thanks! Carl Stretton

Herald Nix:

“What A World” sounds like nothing else in the roots marketplace, a masterpiece in which style and substance create a luminous, resonant glow. It’s one of a kind, a work of sublime musical art.” states the Toronto Star. The UK press wonders “If a live show matches the intensity and power of the performances on this collection of songs, it would be spectacularly good. He thumps out these country blues songs with such fearless zest and fire its like being transformed to another time and place. This really is a terrific record.”

Rodney DeCroo:

Rodney DeCroo sings stark, haunting songs that Canadian music magazine Exclaim called “Uneasy listening at it’s best”. The Vancouver Sun says that while his “powerful lyrics are both mesmerizing and wrenching, the songs are filled with a sense of defiant beauty.” Mike Usinger music editor at Vancouver’s Georgia Straight Magazine, writing about DeCroo’s most recent album, says that DeCroo is more than a song-writer, he’s also a poet: “Once you’ve heard the flat-out devastating Allegheny, it somehow seems wrong to label Rodney DeCroo as a songwriter. For the past decade, the 45-year-old has been seen as exactly that, his raw, often breathtaking records falling under the mean-nothing umbrella of Americana. Raw, captivating, and essential, The Allegheny rebrands DeCroo as an artist determined to challenge himself and his fans. He’s produced what will be remembered as one of the best, most unflinchingly honest records of the year. If the singer, poet, somehow isn’t on your radar yet, this is where you really need to ask yourself why.”

The Cooper Brothers and Rodney DeCroo reviews   Leave a comment

This week I wanted to feature a few albums that got lost in the weeds. As it turned out, I only had room for two reviews, and I had to stretch my 500-word allowance to 150% to make that work; the third review is posted below: Danielle Doyle.

I advance the local happenings- including Wil and the sensational Leeroy Stagger at The Vat next weekend – and review the latest from The Cooper Brothers and Rodney DeCroo. The Cooper Brothers album came out several months ago and I bought it on impulse as a download; a few weeks back, Dick Cooper contacted me and then forwarded to me the hardcopy. A more than enjoyable album- my spouse and I listened to it all through on a drive to Edmonton last week- and the packaging is also well done. The DeCroo album really got lost- it was sent to me in mid-August but only made its way into my hands last week! Two fine albums for your cold weather enjoyment.

Roots music column, originally published November 19, 2010 in the Red Deer Advocate

The Cooper Brothers In From the Cold Self-released

Rock ‘n roll cowboys The Cooper Brothers- they of The Dream Never Dies- came back earlier this year with a powerful album of Canadian roots music replete with a stompin’ backbeat. In From the Cold is the southern Ontario group’s first album in almost 30 years.

Terry King, one of the voices of the band, passed away in 1998, but augmented by Jeff Rogers, Brian and Dick Cooper roar out of retirement with a very strong release produced by Colin Linden. The first five songs are standouts. Gunshy has the hook, Jukebox, with Delbert McClinton on harp, has the spirit (“I heard it on a jukebox, so its gotta be right!” goes the refrain), and ’62 Fairlane and Hard Luck Girl have the soul.

The Fats Kaplin fiddle touches to That’s What Makes Us Great are stellar. This ode to Canada wouldn’t be out of place beside Trooper’s Real Canadians and Mike Plume’s 8:30 Newfoundland.

Things get a little too soft mid-set before picking up again with the closers The Way She Shines and the memorable Little Blue Church; drop a five-string in that one and you are close to a bluegrass tune.

With just enough roots and country influences to keep it honest, In From the Cold is an enjoyable reintroduction to one of the most successful Canadian bands of the late 70s.

Rodney DeCroo Queen Mary Trash Northern Electric

Hats off to Vancouver’s Rodney DeCroo for firing off an impressive 24-track missive entitled Queen Mary Trash.

DeCroo recorded this double album set in less than a week, and the intense nature of such a pace is obvious. Songs are captured here at their most organic level. Unlike his previous Mockingbird Bible, nothing is polished or even adorned. Select tracks (River Boat and Loser and the Tennessee Girl) have a Neil Young & Crazy Horse vibe, complete with shredded riffs and feedback. Elsewhere, as in Out of this World, fragmented and nearly indecipherable lyrics make references to Bob Dylan inevitable.

DeCroo turns his words toward himself on the (hopefully) exaggerated self-evisceration You Ain’t No One, singing “You ain’t Steve Earle, you ain’t Neil Young, you ain’t Bob Dylan, you ain’t no one.”

Not everything is heavy. The second disc swirls to a start thanks to Jon Wood’s retro organ flourishes introducing Paris Spleen; I’m not sure what it is about, but it sounds wonderful. The beautifully titled Mist in the Valley is a sparse, atmospheric interlude of calm amidst volleys of rock ‘n roll bombast; Borderline similarly cleanses the palate.

The rhythm of aggression is much of DeCroo’s attraction, but when one focuses more closely on the words, nuggets of brilliance become obvious.

Queen Mary Trash isn’t an easy listen- much like the artist who created this sprawling opus, it is challenging, brutal, and at times terrifyingly poetic. There is much to digest across the nearly two hours of music, and DeCroo may have been wiser to have held back some of these tunes for his next project.

But for a writer this prolific and proficient, it is most likely we’ll have as equally impressive a set to consider in another 18 months.

Thanks for visiting Fervor Coulee- Donald

New album from Rodney Decroo   Leave a comment

I don’t normally do this, but Rodney is one of the good guys and if I can help just a little, I want to- two Red Deer dates coming Sept. 20 and 21. More at

Northern Electric Records is proud to announce the release of Rodney DeCroo’s new “double” cd Queen Mary Trash on Thursday, September 09, 2010.

In the long run, Queen Mary Trash will be viewed as a milestone event for Vancouver (via Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) singer-songwriter Rodney DeCroo. Recorded over a mere five days, the two-disc set captures DeCroo and band at a feverish peak of creativity and ability, across 24 tracks ranging from the balls-out crunch of “Riverboat” to the gentle poetics of “Voyager”.
It was 2006 when the live album War Torn Man had critics across Canada unanimously declaring the authenticity of DeCroo’s voice, and the hard-won brilliance of his songwriting. Here was a man who could extract both breathtaking beauty and sweet howling rage from a difficult life, both his own and the hard knock lives of others. Mockingbird Bible in 2008 was a softly devastating yet strangely uplifting tour through the shadows, and certified DeCroo as one of the country’s premier folk-rock /roots performers and songwriters.
With Queen Mary Trash, producer-guitarist Jon Wood faced an embarrassment of riches. DeCroo was writing at a furious pace, and widening his scope – he’s a reborn soul man on “Out of This World”; a fanged satirist on the remarkable “Paris Spleen”; and he brings brimstone and fire to “Elijah, Come On!Carolyn Mark is on board for the entire album; along with Kris Welch and Ryan Olszewski, of Vancouver’s late roots-chargers No Horses, both of whom throw down some vicious guitar on “Night Field Again”, and “Sorrow On the Mountain”.

Queen Mary Trash will be available in stores and online as of Thursday, September 09, with a CD release party that evening at The Wise Hall in East Vancouver, featuring DeCroo with His Convictions and special guests Carolyn Mark and storyteller/ writer Ivan Coyote slated to perform sets. The release show will be followed by a 20 date Western Canadian Tour (see dates below).

Joining DeCroo and His Convictions on the road is the astounding Carolyn Mark.

Posted 2010 August 8 by Donald Teplyske in Uncategorized

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