The Autumn edition of Rasputin’s Beard = musical satisfaction! We missed the jazz combo CLEAR; illness forced them to cancel mere hours before the show…. here’s hoping they can come back for a future Beard! But we still had Shannon Rose and the Thorns, Pardale Exit and Alan Fraser.
First up was Shannon Rose and the Thorns. Shannon has delightfully nuanced vocal style that draws in the listener’s attention, with impressive dynamics that can go from a whisper to a belt. Her able musicians supported her very well: that Steve Matylewicz has been both her longtime musical and life partner certainly showed in their interactions; bassist Adam DiPents and drummer Jack McGregor laid down the foundation for the multi-styles of music they wove into a cohesive whole.
Next we were delighted by Parkdale Exit, bringing a zany energy to the stage. Calere Boudreau and John Lloyd shared lead vocals and good humour. Tracy F. Clark once again demonstrated on the Beard stage why he is in demand as a lead guitarist in this region. Rick Kersey on saxophone got a big hand for a marvelous solo. One of Calere’s songs -”Snow Angel”, from her own brand new CD of the same title – has to be the perfect poignant Canadian lost-love-forlorn lyrics!
Finally Allan Fraser, dropping by to visit Ottawa from Montreal. He brought two superb musicians with him, treating the audience with some of newer material this combo has been developing in the studio for Fraser’s upcoming CD recording. Yoland Houle’s bass lines were melodic yet punchy… some featured haunting harmonics. Multi-instrumentalist and studio producer Quentin Meek played in-the-pocket percussion, and graced Allan’s classic tune “Dance Hall Girls” with gorgeous harmonica solos. Fraser himself delivered an intense and mesmerizing performance, reminding us why his unique style was once dubbed “gypsy theatre”. His direct and poetic lyrics -coupled with his raw declamation – tantalized us, like eavesdropping in someone’s stream-of-consciousness mind, or overhearing a one-sided conversation… as in the astonishing vocal dynamics in “Jesus Christ Larry!” Quite simply: Allan Fraser is a true original artist like no other! We were so fortunate that he came by to play for us… and he said he was very happy to bring his studio combo to our stage.