Carl’s Tuesday Musics: Andre Ethier, “Motorcycle Leatherboy,” live in Toronto, Feb 16, 2013

andre-ethier-honor

As part of Toronto music series Wavelength’s THIRTEEN festival, songwriters Andre Ethier and Laura Barrett performed at Soundscapes on Saturday, with me doing interviews with each of them in front of the audience in between sets. It was beginning to blizzard outside. All the songs Andre played were new. They were all written in open D (he noticed this toward the end with a little blush). None of them have bridges, because Andre’s done a lot of deep exploring in the English traditional “Child ballads” in recent years and noticed none of them had bridges. He concluded songs don’t need them. (As I said in our talk, no one tell Franklin Bruno, who’s writing a book about bridges, and writes great ones himself.)

I found Andre’s new songs even more singular than his older work – pretty and stubbornly withholding, so funny and so clear. I particularly adored this tune,  a Child ballad in a more literal sense, in which he projects his currently four-year-old son into the future and across an ocean, and writes him a beseeching and beguiling parental love letter … with just a faint homoerotic undertone, like a lemon twist.

PS: This recording was made and shared with me very generously by Joe Strutt, of Toronto’s wonderful live-music-archiving blog, Mechanical Forest Sound.

PPS: Andre tells me, “I’m thinking of rewriting the lyrics of that song but keeping the title, so you may have an exclusive on your hands,” but adds, “I like the idea of the first draft being out there.”

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