From a media release:
From Garbage Heap to Honouring Hands -
Lawless’ ‘Footnote’ CD Coaxes New Music From Recycled & Discarded Instruments
Gregg Lawless CD Release – “Footnote”
with Mark Inneo -- drums (The Tenors), Fergus Marsh -- bass (Bruce Cockburn), David Matheson -- accordion, guitar, B3 (Ron Sexsmith), John Sheard -- piano (Vinyl Cafe)
WHERE: Hugh’s Room, 2261 Dundas St W, Toronto
WHEN: Sat Jan 25th, 2014 - 8:30pm
TIX/INFO: $25 adv / $30 416-531-6604
• Listen at the link
[Toronto ON] Thomas Edison once said, ”To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk.” Gregg Lawless takes this further with the release of Footnote – an homage to the discarded – at Toronto’s venerable Hugh’s Room, January 25th.
The title song explores the feelings of rejection you're left with when a relationship ends - that you’re just a footnote in the larger chapter of life. At the same time, Lawless incorporates a passion for seeking out discarded guitars – those homeless, broken and damaged instruments that could be considered nothing but footnotes themselves. He brings them back to life in every sense - repairing them, then showcasing them on his songs – coaxing their old souls to shine through a dusty old tube amp – itself rescued from the garbage.
The tunes on this album, and the treatments Lawless gives them, are as varied and unexpected as the "resurrection" stories of the vintage instruments he plays. Footnote is a tasty smorgasbord of powerful moods and sentiments, incorporating everything from acoustic roots to blues-rock; power pop to country; ragtime to reggae – each song expertly recorded with the help of veteran musicians, including drummer Mark Kelso (Bonnie Raitt, Herbie Hancock), bassists Fergus Marsh (Bruce Cockburn) and Marc Rogers (Norah Jones, Sarah Harmer), Hammond B3 player Denis Keldie (Etta James, Jeff Healey) and pianist John Sheard (Mary Margaret O’Hara, Ian & Sylvia Tyson), together with vocal assists from Lawless’ cousin Michael. Supported by this crackerjack cast, Lawless works musical magic.
The title track is an unabashedly lovely song, featuring great slide guitar work and a lethally-tender vocal from Lawless, as his guitar gently weeps.
“Piece of Me” is another keeper, with exceptional mandolin and Lawless’ flawless dobro, and those noteworthy backup voices in all the right places. Steve Briggs’ tasteful mandolin solo joins Lawless for a slightly country finish.
“You Ain’t Callin’” is the album’s shining star, showcasing compelling vocals, rich harmonies and phenomenal music – the ring of Lawless’ distinctive, Rickenbacker-like guitar melding with exquisite B3.
A completely irreverent cover of Elvis Presley’s “All Shook Up” – sounding more like Joe Walsh’s “Rocky Mountain Way” than anything swaggering out of Memphis – closes off the record. A barrage of dirty slide guitar meets a fat drumbeat, rich B3 and the gentle coo of backup vocals, making a convincing argument. Brimming with the confidence required to tackle such a sacred classic, this off-hand cheekiness is Lawless’ raison d’etre.
Perhaps it’s Lawless’ small-town roots in Aurora and Grafton that inspired him to not only dream big, but to dream differently. True to his name, Lawless went rogue, making unconventional career choices. For one thing, his musical tours took him far from the bright lights of the big city to rural Ireland and remote regions of Africa. He spent many a summer not playing music festivals, but running songwriting workshops as musical director for Camp Trillium, a camp for children and families affected by childhood cancer.
You can tell from these ten songs that Gregg Lawless is a believer, and no matter what condition we find ourselves in, there is shimmering potential within that can’t be glossed over or denied. Footnote is audible proof of that fact.