The Greville Tapes Music Club returns with three new artist pairings, twelve new songs, and more than enough hope and optimism to go around.
Good things come to those who wait, or so the saying goes. After more than five years of self-imposed incubation, the Greville Tapes Music Club has returned to share twelve new collaborative performances recorded in the fall of 2021.
Last month we spoke with GTMC founder Peter Rowan about the project’s return to form and the new collaborations featured in this latest installment. And today, as we wait patiently for the first major New Brunswick winter storm of the season, the complete recordings from GTMC Season 2 are now available for purchase and streaming through good old Bandcamp.
In a nutshell, the GTMC is a collaborative project. But beyond the obvious, it’s also a celebration of music making, of songwriting, and in many ways, what it means to be making music in a time when musicians performing live – something we’ve all taken for granted – is no longer the end game.
We’ve all lost something special during this pandemic. As audience members, club patrons and show-goers, we’ve lost the privilege of going out to see music performed live on stage with a regularity we once took for granted. And those experiences involve a lot more than just watching a band perform on stage. The social aspect of gathering together to share in a common interest and a one-of-a-kind experience accounts for much of what we all draw from these moments. The same goes for the musicians leading the night. Like us, they too rely on the social side, talking with fellow musicians to learn what they’ve been doing, sharing resources and ideas, and sometimes imagining future possibilities of working together. That’s how this all works. So when these vital interactions are suddenly taken away, finding new ways to seek these connections has never been more important. For this reason alone, what we’re hearing today on these recordings represents a lot more than the initial accomplishment of the GTMC concept. This is a big deal and something that taps directly into the very fabric our favourite collective pastime exists upon.
The collection begins with Marion (Fredericton) and Tooth & the Fang (Saint John) setting the template in motion, reimagining older songs and exploring new ones. A great example of this is the Marion song, Same Town, which gets a slower treatment than the original and flips the lead vocal duties from Dylan Ward to Jerry-Faye Flatt, whose voice gives a whole new energy to the song. Similarly, Geoffrey Smith’s project Tooth & the Fang, which has existed largely as an open door collaboration between Smith and an entire community of Saint John musicians, gets a whole new palette of sounds to support his immensely sincere vocals and heartfelt songwriting.
The pairing of Indigo Poirier (Fredericton) and Coco Collins (Port Greville) is a definite standout. Blending electronic atmospheres and heavy percussion with two voices that could carry any room on their own, both musicians take some big risks in working outside their comfort zones, or at least the areas anyone familiar with their previous work may tend to place them. Poirier’s sense of melody and Collin’s approach to rhythm are a winning combination and one we may have never heard without the GTMC. Here’s hoping we haven’t heard the last of these two musicians working together.
It’s hard to pick a favourite pairing from this new collection. Each session brings its own strengths to the forefront. The last four songs, featuring Designosaur (Halifax) and Sadie (Saint John) are packed with beautiful vocal harmonies and more than enough indie rock goodness to leave you craving these songs, live and loud. Sadie’s voice is an obvious standout, as is the indie rock strength of Designosaur’s power-trio dynamic.
As a stand alone collection of songs, GTMC Season 2 places the metaphorical bar at an extreme height. There are no weak moments, no struggles to keep up, and no instances where one musician outshines another. The balance is admirable and speaks to the collective strength of all involved and the thought and detail that went into setting these collaborations in motion.
At this very moment, when the world seems to conjure new levels of stench at every corner, it’s nice to be reminded of the positive things that still exist. Here are twelve of them. Enjoy.