Whitehorse, Self-Titled (2011)

The band Whitehorse, comprised of Canadian husband and wife duo Luke Doucet and Melissa McClelland, and their self-titled debut album have been receiving quite a bit of press in the Canadian press lately, and seeing as their brand of roots-rock is something that fits in around here, perhaps it’s time I get in on the action. The the band’s publicity video does a pretty good job summarizing the album: some excellent blues-rock bombast mixed with folkier ballads. (Think Harry Smith, not Joni Mitchell.) Their most successful track is “Killing Time is Murder;” an abridged version begins at about the 1:43 mark in the preview reel. The track takes the right mix of heavy percussion, folk-tinged strumming, and swaying rhythm and caps it off with a rumination that sounds straight out of the Skip James songbook. The other standout from the 24 minute album is a Springsteen cover with heavy country overtones, “I’m On Fire.” With the original track’s synth warble replaced with subtle steel guitar touches, Whitehorse’s cover gives the track a more timeless update allowing the quality of the songwriting to shine through, and the male-female vocals do a good job playing up the sexual tension contained in the lyrics. Anyways, check out the demo reel, a live performance of “Killing Time” from their CBC Radio 2 session (unfortunately, minus much of the touted bombast), and the album version of “I’m On Fire.”

Whitehorse Demo Reel

Whitehorse, “Killing Time” (Live, CBC Radio 2)

Whitehorse, “I’m On Fire (Springsteen cover)” (from Whitehorse, 2011)

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Filed under Country, Folk, Music

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