Roots & Roll
“Robin is shy.”
This statement appeared on many of Robin Woywitka’s primary school report cards. Although there are introverted remnants in some of the music on Roots & Roll, “shy” is not a word that immediately comes to mind when listening to this record. The album is frank and open hearted. Revelations are made with bluster, humour, and the occasional bit of sentimentality.
“This record is certainly more direct than our last one,” says Robin. This rings true. His Jimbo Mathis produced 2011 release, The Impossible Address, featured tall tales of pioneers and astronauts. Roots & Roll also contains exaggerated instances, but this time around the songs are largely drawn from material a bit closer to the bone. Discarding the common “it wasn’t me” songwriter cop-out, Robin admits that there are a few songs on the record that are very accurate recollections from his life. But he’s not saying which ones. “There are a couple of unsavoury moments in there. Maybe it was me, maybe it wasn’t.”
In all of these songs, the music closely supports the narrator. The ragged honky tonk of “Too Late to Go Home Early” props up an overconfident ne’er-do-well. Harmony singers and gentle bass notes console the brokenhearted in “Seasick Sailor,” and a troubled couple sing out their worries in “Burn Down on Their Own.”
Edmonton luminaries Stew Kirkwood (Sound Extractor) and Gavin Dunn (Jeff Stuart & the Hearts) produced the record. This team helped the band create a sound true to their north Edmonton roots: a blend of the root elements of rock and roll and country music delivered with a nervy, modern punch.
Listeners, this is Roots & Roll.
The Impossible Address
By blending older blues and country forms with new rock and roll styling, Robin guides you on a brief visit to The Impossible Address.
Most of the album was recorded in two days at Delta Recording Service in Como, Mississippi, United States with producer Jimbo Mathus (Squirrel Nut Zippers, Elvis Costello, Buddy Guy, North Mississippi All Stars). Although Robin expected to finish a few songs during this session, he adapted quickly to Mr. Mathus’ frenetic pace and came out with nearly three quarters of the record. The remainder of the album was recorded in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada by Scott Franchuk. The songs from this session are a little more intricate, with a pinch of surrealism thrown in for flavour. The mixing of Mr. Mathus’ southern style with Robin’s Canadian cut raises some ghosts of The Band. However, the record also bears a peculiar pop rock shine reminiscent of R.E.M or Sloan, and will appeal to appreciators of both raw roots music and more measured modern folk rock.