There are storms that stalk the water and storms that darken the heart, and from them come calms, and certain smallness too: so it was that time in 2009, when the wind hurled a sailboat beneath a churning lake and sent its two sailors plunging towards the shore.
So music flows from storms too, because after those two sailors climbed out of the water, they knew they had met to make something sing. And so Red Moon Road was born from a storm, and the bond that the two string-plucking Daniels - Daniel Jordan and Daniel Peloquin-Hopfner - forged inside one.
If you close your eyes and listen to Red Moon Road's self-titled debut album, you can hear this.
It's in what churns just below the surface, you see, the storms of head and heart and history that pull the Winnipeg band's songs into shape. It's in the strings - banjo, mandolin, guitar and fiddle -- that swell and sway beneath Sheena Rattai's twilight voice, and the harmonies that fill out the musical space.
Most of all, you can hear it in the flourishes of wilderness that flow through the trio's throats and fingers: the sparkling melody of live favourite "Mighty Glad You Came" borrowed with thanks from the white-throated sparrow. The swollen chords of "Do Or Die," crashing over delicate riffs like a sunrise breaking on water.
This is music made equally for fireplaces, festival stages and the luminous blue of a Canadian night.
Still, for all the singular focus of this vision, inside Red Moon Road are three musicians come together from very different directions: Peloquin-Hopfner got his start as a progressive metal guy. Jordan trained as a big-band jazz drummer. And Rattai, who fronted a funk band before this, grew up singing in church choirs, where she learned the mysteries of singing for the sacred and sublime.
So it isn't so surprising when, in the middle of their acoustic set, the trio busts out a delay pedal, or a loop track to lock the rhythm down: after all, they had this stuff lying around. And though the trappings of the band may speak of backwoods - they've been known to take the stage with pinecones in their hair - there's still a grace that flows from pop, and jazz, and the pleasures of the modern day.
This is what drives the band, then, what sends their music echoing down the roads that join coast and coast: at a house concert in the northern woods of British Columbia, with the sled dogs howling along outside. At a prairie bar deep inside Saskatchewan, where lyrics about Old World wars resonate in the history of farmers, come here from across the sea. Or on dim-lit stages in the steel forests of cities, where those rattling strings call us back to the lakes, the seas and the storm.
And there is music in that storm, and it flows and it rolls, and it goes by the name of Red Moon Road.
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West End Cultural Centre
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