Saturday, August 01, 2009

Shout Out / Review: Jon-Rae Fletcher @ Sneaky Dee's, 26 July.

Last Sunday night I went to Sneaky Dee's as I usually do for the weekly Wavelength series. The bill that night was especially strong and seemingly tailor-made for my tastes: up first, young roots pop-rockers Great Bloomers (whom I've gushed about before); then Montrealers Flotilla (ditto); and finally, country hero Jon-Rae Fletcher, on a summer tour with two of his bandmates. I enjoyed everyone, and was thrilled to see such a large crowd for a Sunday night show in July. But Jon-Rae, whom I'd seen perform back in March at Lee's Palace during Canadian Music Week, completely blew me away.

It's a rare thing for me to see a band and during the course of the set decide that I must own the record they are promoting. I see a lot of bands, and I enjoy most of them. I like the live concert experience and don't listen to a whole lot of music on my off-time. Jon-Rae got to me, though. It took a few songs, but slowly, and then all of a sudden, I started to feel that I was witnessing a true musical genius. (The Lee's Palace gig hadn't left much of an impression on me.) The songs weren't complicated: At one point the trombone player, having to play an unrehearsed song, asked Jon-Rae how it went. The response was, "it's in G. It's the same as all the other ones." But the relatively simple arrangements for voice, guitar, bass, and trombone, or else Jon-Rae solo (voice and guitar), grabbed me in a way few bands have. What a wonderful set. Many of the people in the crowd were singing along, clearly familiar with the songs off his 2008 solo album and the older ones he used to perform with Jon-Rae & the River, a band I never got to see. He seemed a little taken aback by one excited (drunken) female "heckler" who proclaimed her love for him and etc. But most of us retained our composure, and he treated us to an encore after firmly stating that he was done for the night. But heck, this was Wavelength at Sneaky Dee's, where he'd seen some of his favourite shows ever (so he told us---"fuck, it's good to be back at Sneaky Dee's). How could he not?

I didn't have enough cash on me to get a CD, but as soon as I got home, I went and bought it off Zunior. Here are a couple tracks:

Download: "Maria" (Oh, Maria, 2008)
Download: "Downtown" (Oh, Maria, 2008)

My blogger friend Joe's got a superb review of the Friday-night Jon-Rae show at the Imperial Pub, plus a live recording of "Best Of My Time." Seems like the set-list was the same or similar at Sneaks.

Photo credit: Jon-Rae Fletcher @ Lee's Palace in Toronto, March 2009, by Bob Battams.


Alex said...

Jon Rae Fletcher is a pretty special guy. We have gotten to play with him a couple of times.

Mechanical Forest Sound said...

Oh, I blush. Thanks for the kind words, ma'am.

suckingalemon said...

jon rae is my hero. old songs for the new town and the road are some of the best country records released in canada in the past while.