SECOND INSTALMENT OF JUNO AWARD-NOMINATED PROJECT DEALS 1950s BLUES BOPS, HELLFIRE GOSPELS AND SEXED-UP CUTS.
LISTEN TO LEAD TRACK, HOWLIN’ WOLF’S “WHO’S BEEN TALKIN'” NOW.
Itches, urges, dirges and scourges: welcome back to The Northern South. Whitehorse makes their return to the early days of electric blues with the second instalment of a project that melds original grooves and melodies with the duo’s steamy, swampy, squalling approach. There’s foreplay, foreboding, fever and Fenders — plenty of them — with cuts from Howlin’ Wolf, Willie Dixon, Jimmy Reed, Slim Harpo and more.
“Blues gave rock ‘n’ roll its nerve. It breaks, bends and distorts rules,” offers Melissa McClelland, one half of the duo. “This sense of abandon, emotional and musical urgency trickled into all forms of modern day music. There would be no Cardi B without Lucille Bogan. There would be no Tom Waits without Howlin’ Wolf and there would be no Stones without any of it.”
On opener “Who’s Been Talkin’” (1957), Luke Doucet serves up a hearty White Falcon slice of love and respect for Howlin’ Wolf and his right-hand man, guitar hero Hubert Sumlin, while melodica and Wurlitzer wind around the deft dance of the lyrics. “The nuance of simultaneously accepting responsibility and accusing a lover of doing him wrong was very subtle,” says Doucet. “It’s a rabbit hole of contrition.”
From there, Whitehorse gets loose and languid with a Jimmy Reed via J.J. Cale take on “Baby What You Want Me To Do” (1959). With a few Gretsch squelches for good measure, Whitehorse’s tribute to Reed’s laid-back minimalism and melody mastery moves along no faster than a Sunday morning.
An exercise in subtlety it is not: Whitehorse’s version of Slim Harpo’s “Baby, Scratch My Back” (1965) is a lap dance, an unapologetically erotic, red-hot take. With McClelland on lead vocals upending the original dynamic, Whitehorse’s version is one of female desire and pleasure. Less girls gone wild, more sexual intellectual.
Next up is “I Just Wanna Make Love To You” (1954), a Willie Dixon original given a Jon Spencer Blues Explosion-inspired treatment—McClelland’s idea. “It would be impossible to top Etta James’ steaming vocal, so I suggested we turn ourselves into a garage rock band, a little scrappier, punchier and live off the floor.”
From a turbulent, direful crackling rapture to a haunting, minor key requiem, The Northern South Vol. 2 goes further back in time with two traditional gospel blues selections, “John The Revelator” and “St. James Infirmary.” The latter features one of the EP’s highlights: a righteous noisescape outro from McClelland, played on Doucet’s Les Paul. “John the Revelator was an interesting song to delve into,” says McClelland. “We liked the intensity of the end of times bible story but we wanted it to tell a more current, relevant tale. With some new words, we touch on the end of days issues that feel pressing to us: global warming, the Trump presidency, consumerism, and religion itself.”
Both snapshot and slingshot,The Northern South Vol. 2 cycles back and careens forward, taking a twelve-bar trip through the chart-toppers of the era. “These aren’t deep cuts, they are the Top 40, the pop hits of the blues world, what was happening at the time,” explains Doucet of the song selection process. “These songs spoke to the basics. They communicated simple truths and realities in ways that transcended boundaries.”
The Northern South Vol. 2 will be released January 18, 2019.
1. Who’s Been Talkin’ (Howlin’ Wolf)
2. Baby, What You Want Me to Do (Jimmy Reed)
3. John the Revelator (Traditional)
4. Baby, Scratch My Back (Slim Harpo)
5. I Just Wanna Make Love to You (Willie Dixon)
6. St. James Infirmary (Traditional)
Listen to the first single Who’s Been Talkin’ on Spotify below or click here to listen on your preferred streaming service.
Since first opening its doors on June 14, 1894, Massey Hall has hosted the world's greatest performers and cemented its position as one of the premier concert venues in the world. Over a century later, Canada's iconic concert hall is set to close for two years to complete the most significant revitalization in its history. Prior to this hiatus, join us on June 14, 2018 on the occasion of Massey Hall's 124th anniversary as we gather several Massey Hall alumni for an historic night of music. Performing double duty as both featured performers and the house band, Whitehorse will lead an all star lineup including Jim Cuddy, Sarah Harmer, Joel Plaskett, Sam Roberts, Buffy Sainte-Marie, and surprise special guests.
Whitehorse are thrilled to be returning to Nashville this September for an official showcase at Americanafest. The Americana Music Festival & Conference will take place September 11-16, 2018, gathering thousands of artists, fans, and industry professionals from all over the world in Nashville, TN. With planning already underway, 2018 promises to once again be the must-attend event for anyone who loves the melting pot of Americana's influences including roots, folk, country, blues and soul-based music.
Whitehorse and Six Shooter Records took home the Marketing Awards at the CIMA Gala Awards (Canadian Independent Music Association) for the marketing campaign for Panther in the Dollhouse. CIMA’s Celebration and Awards Gala is an annual celebration to give props to those who innovatively create, support and strengthen Canada’s independent music industry. Woohoo!
Whitehorse will be joining a stellar cast of artists at the Six Shooter Records + Starfish Entertainment JUNOfest showcase this Friday in Vancouver at the Imperial Vancouver. If you are in Vancouver you won't want to miss the Outlaws & Gunslingers party feat. The Jim Cuddy Band The Jerry Cans / Pai Gaalaqautikkut Terra Lightfoot Rose CousinsBarney Bentall Jon Bryant Devin Cuddy Band NQ Arbuckle Ensign Broderick Sam Polley and the Old Tomorrows Riit with Musical Direction by Ford Pier
Whitehorse's 2017 album Panther in the Dollhouse received a 2018 Juno Award nomination in the category of Adult Alternative Album of the Year. Recording Engineer Gus Van Go has also been nominated for Recording Engineer of the Year for his work on "Boys Like You". See you at the 47th annual Juno Awards in Vancouver this March!
"We applied this to the many varied expenses we incur to run our Drop-In Centre - which sees over 300 women per day/night. The Drop-In Centre provides a hot meal, medical care, a safe refuge and programming referrals for street-based sex workers that self-identify as women."
Throughout Whitehorse's Canadian tour dates we partnered with local non-profit organizations who are fighting for the rights of sex workers. We are allies in this effort to decriminalize and destigmatize sex work in our country. Through Patron Saint of the Lonely Hearts t-shirt sales and through your generous additional donations together we raised over $2500, all of which went directly to the local organizations working on the ground with our communities.
Here is a little more on how these dollars were put into action:
"We raised more then 1/2 a months rent which as a collective 100% community funded is a huge deal for us!! This is community!"
"All money that comes to us goes directly to support programs-pays staff, buys supplies, let's us hire a cleaner once in a while."
"The donation will be used to launch our "Sex Workers Welcome" program to train local organizations and businesses to become more welcoming of sex workers."
Thank you to these amazing organizations, and thank you to our fans.
Hot off the presses! These special edition Live at Massey Hall posters will be given out in limited quantities to the first few lucky Whitehorse fans through the door on December 8th at Massey Hall & Roy Thomson Hall. Grab your tickets and come early for this sweet swag designed by Odelay Graphic Design
Find tickets here.
On their new album, Whitehorse explores conventions and assumptions of domestic life, questions that dovetail with issues of consent, freedom and safety. To celebrate the album’s release, and to acknowledge the work done by those in the sex industry and those who fight for positive and necessary change, Whitehorse is partnering with organizations across Canada who are working on the ground in these communities to share about the important work being done as well as provide an avenue for donations to go directly to the organizations through the sale of Patron Saint of the Lonely Hearts t-shirts at live concerts across Canada. Partner organizations across Canada include: Sunshine House (Winnipeg), WISH (Vancouver), Safe Space London (London, ON), SWAN Waterloo, Maggie's of Toronto, Chez Stella in Montréal, and more. #GivingTuesday
" Directed by Katrina Beatty of Loud Whisper Productions, the video is as bright and suggestive as the song title implies, with vivid makeout sessions involving twosomes and threesomes who could inspire another “make love/not war” movement that’s in need of a serious reboot during these troubled times." - Michael Bialas, HUFFPO
Off of Whitehorse's new album Panther in the Dollhouse.
A big thank you to MuchFACT for all you've done, the support over the years has made dreams of video's like this one come to fruition.
Watch the official Pink Kimono video and read the full story at Huffington Post.
FOUR DECADES OF DOING NOTHING: NEIL YOUNG’S “OHIO” REMAINS A POWERFUL AND STARK STATEMENT ABOUT GUN VIOLENCE AND BRUTALITY
As part of the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame induction of Neil Young, guitar-slinging duo Whitehorse was invited to perform two iconic and potent selections from Young’s catalogue. Whitehorse offered a scorching rendition of "Ohio," a song that remains shockingly and disturbingly relevant after nearly four decades.
“We never thought we'd still be watching our backs for violent abuses of authority or any kind of violence between groups of people where race, partisanship, urban/rural roots or class were the determining factors,” says Luke Doucet. “Surely ‘Ohio,’ when released by Crosby, Stills Nash & Young in 1971 was to represent the end of that era.
Unfortunately, Trump has all but guaranteed that this kind of divisive confrontation and violence will continue and escalate. White supremacists have been emboldened and reassured that they have a sympathetic agent in the Oval Office.
Ohio could have been written this year and only the names of presidents and geography would need altering.
Neil has always been ahead of his time but maybe he outdid himself in 1970," finishes Doucet.