Headwater Push album launch
With C.R Avery & the Madison 22 Review and The River and The Road
May 4th at the Biltmore Cabaret
Doors at 8pm. Show 9pm.
Tickets $15 in advance
Available online at www.Ticket Web.ca
Or in stores at Red Cat, Zulu, Highlife, The Biltmore, and River Vintage
Part homecoming, part coming-of-age, and part coming-into-their-own-as-musicians, Headwater’s new EP, Push, is the musical product of some significant life passages – and the harbinger of a mature and confident new indie folk pop sound marked by breathtaking harmonies, contemplative songwriting, and countless nods to musical idols like Daniel Lanois, Peter Gabriel and Pink Floyd.
Recorded as the band’s founders marked their first decade together, the appropriately-named Push sees the four musicians – now pushing 30 – singing about major life transitions, and playing the style of music they say they always wanted to play, but previously weren’t good enough to pull off. It also sees them taking a break from their lengthy annual European tours to rebuild their base here in Canada.
Highlights of Push include the stunning “All Good Things,” a piece that’s at once bittersweet and catchy with an instantly-singable chorus; and “Fuel the Fire,” the closest the band gets on this EP to the alt-country sound of its past — and it’s not that close. “Sky is Falling” has an unmistakable Sting / Police influence, while “Candytown” evokes the very best of Canadian roots-pop. Lyrically, the band was inspired by major relationship shifts and the overall experience of growing up, growing in confidence and settling into life. The instrumentation remains largely the same as in the past – guitar, steel guitar, mandolin, banjo, and bass – but the core instrumentation is electric now. And the steel guitar, banjo and mandolin are transformed to make them sound almost synth-like in the mix.
Headwater co-founder Matt Bryant says Push isn’t so much a departure for the band as it is a return to its musical roots. Fans of a massive range of popular music, from the aforementioned Floyd and Gabriel to Dr. Dre and Katy Perry, the band-members’ foray into acoustic music was really an educational tool. Studying string-band music helped the devoted music students excel as players. It also taught them about harmony and song structure.
With that solid foundation established, the band released its debut album, My Old Friend, in 2006, and a follow-up, Lay you Down, in 2009. That album caused a stir in England, thanks to regional BBC play, a glowing review in Maverick magazine, and equally enthusiastic write-ups on British and Irish blogs like “For Folk’s Sake” and “Lonesome Highway.” In the three years since the release, the band has spent every winter in Europe, touring not just the U.K. but also Germany, Holland, Austria and Italy. They even performed, along with Joan Jet, at Switzerland’s Alrad Music Festival.
But most of the band’s gigs, both in Canada and abroad, have been for roots audiences. And the band was longing to rock out. They were also writing songs they felt needed more of a rock n’ roll treatment. So, for the new EP, the band plugged in, hired a drummer, and began charting a new musical course.
The outstanding songwriting, stunning harmonies and evocative arrangements on Push are enough to make a person think that maybe every aspiring pop band should do a few years of string-band music before rocking out.