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Riverthieves to Release Soldier at Old Town Halls in Winchester and Almonte in May
Perth, Ontario (03 April, 2018) - The Celtic-styled, indie-folk band, Riverthieves, have announced that their regional album release tour will include two historic venues: the Old Town Hall in Winchester on Friday 11 May, and the Old Town Hall in Almonte on Sunday 20 May. The band will unveil live performances of their original sophomore album, Soldier, which explores the military experiences of the musicians, two of whom are currently serving in the Canadian Army.
“These songs were all written to celebrate and to reflect on the soldiering life,” says Devon Matsalla, multi-instrumentalist and veteran of Afghanistan, Bosnia, and Haiti. “I’m really happy with the way the whole album has turned out: not all the tunes are sad - some are even funny - but it felt good to get it all out and onto the studio recording.”
Although the core members of the Riverthieves have been playing the National Capital Region since the early 2000s, the band had to hit the pause button in 2009 for several years while Matsalla, and his band mate, Finley Mullally, completed back to back tours of Afghanistan and Haiti, followed by Matsalla’s posting to Valcartier.
The ten songs that made the final cut were chosen from 15, most of which were written in the fall of 2016. The album was recorded between Christmas and Easter of 2017 in a studio Matsalla built by hand in Carp Ontario.
“I guess I had alot of energy to burn off, and I was so excited to get back to Ottawa and put the band back together: I guess we went big rather than staying home.”
Mike Kay provided the studio equipment and helped to record the album which was engineered and mixed by Chris Bradley. Musically, many of the songs feature the familiar Celtic sounds of fiddle, whistle, mandolin, and bagpipes; however, several have a more contemporary feel with keyboards, electric guitars and the EWI - Electronic Wind Instrument. The 2018 setlist will also dig into original and traditional material from their first album, Bandit Queen.
“We are very excited to be presenting our original music in these historic sites,” says Sal DeMeo, bass and guitar player. “The Almonte show is particularly meaningful for us as we recorded our first album there in 2009. Our concert in Winchester is also a big deal for us as it’s our first time playing in Stormont, Drummond and Glengarry County.” Riverthieves intends to play in each county in Eastern Ontario at least once in 2018, according to DeMeo.
Tickets for the shows are $15 and are available in advance through the band’s website at www.riverthieves.com. CDs will be available for sale or download at the events. Doors open at 7 for a 7:30 curtain.
Contact: Finley Mullally, firstname.lastname@example.org
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Renfrew Co. to host first two Riverthieves shows in 2018
Perth, Ontario (24 Feb, 2018) - The Celtic-styled, indie folk Riverthieves have announced that their regional album release tour will begin with two shows in Renfrew County on the St Patrick’s Day weekend beginning with the John St Pub on 16 March, and Calabogie Lodge on the 17th.
“We have a strong connection with Renfrew,” says Sal De Meo, bass and guitar player. “Two of our alumna, Terri-Lynn Mahusky and Meghan Patrick, are Renfrew fiddlers and, even when we took a break from gigging to write and record our album, we still did regular shows in the County.”
Riverthieves have not yet announced the balance of the touring season, but frontman and manager, Finley Mullally intends to play in each county in Eastern Ontario at least once in 2018.
“We have almost filled the calendar and I’m confident that we’ll be able to visit the whole Eastern Ontario region. We’re also stepping out to play a couple of shows in Toronto and in Atlantic Canada which I’m excited about, but getting round the counties is job one for 2018.”
“It’s something new and also something familiar for us,” says Mullally. “We are excited to play for Nick [Xidous, owner of John St Pub] as it’s the band’s first show in Arnprior, and the JSP is such an iconic spot for original music bands; the next night, we will be celebrating with old friends on a familiar stage, playing for Byron Hermann in Calabogie; he’s been a big supporter of the Riverthieves since our reunion.”
Despite the new album, March audiences should expect a pretty traditional setlist to honour the St Patrick’s Day events. De Meo, who composed a number of songs on the new album, adds that despite some blues, jazz, and Americana stylings, traditional music is the band’s musical home base: “Even when we’ve added electric guitar and jazz keyboards, and are playing rock or blues, if your bandmates are accompanying on bagpipes, whistles and fiddles, you end up sounding pretty trad.”
Mullally says they will roll out a few of the new tunes on the weekend, but will be reserving most of their new material for the show that will begin touring in May. Tickets for the 9pm-2am Arnprior show are $6 at the door and restricted to those 19+. Tickets are $10 for Calabogie and available in advance through Eventbrite or at the door. For more information visit the band at www.riverthieves.com.
Contact: Finley Mullally, email@example.com
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The Riverthieves’ 2018 album, Soldier, follows three tours to Afghanistan,
one to Haiti.
Eight years and four operational tours after the release of their first album, Bandit Queen, the established Eastern Ontario indie-folk band, Riverthieves, is going back on stage, poised to release their sophomore album, Soldier, early in 2018.
The dozen tracks that make up Soldier, each an original composition, break new ground musically and instrumentally for the sextet, two members of which, Devon Matsalla and Finley Mullally, are serving soldiers, the balance sons and fathers of soldiers.
The Riverthieves is a “band Interrupted,” according to Chris Knowles, whose father and daughter are veterans of the Canadian army. “We were doing really well in 2009 - lots of shows, festivals, theatre gigs - and then Devon and Finley were deployed.” In fact, Devon left for Kandahar, Afghanistan immediately after the curtain fell on their live recording at the Almonte Town Hall in May 2009, Finley following him three months later.
“We were keen to write an album from scratch that would hang together thematically, but vary widely from song to song in tone, mood and instrumentation,” says Sal De Meo, who plays finger-style acoustic guitar on the album for the first time as well as bass.
“It seems that most of the soldier-songs I’ve heard on the radio end up as laments or protest-songs,” says Devon, “but for us, where we’ve lived the military life from lots of angles over many decades, our experience is very much more diverse: there’s lots of joy and camaraderie, lots to celebrate mixed in with opportunities to be sombre and to feel loss.”
Instrumentally, the band’s usual line up of fiddle, guitar, whistle, mandolin, bass and bodhran has been augmented with some more unusual choices: distorted electric guitar and mandolin; jazz keyboard; the ephemeral EWI (Electronic Wind Instruments); and of course, the skirling of the bagpipes.
Some of the tracks like “I’m Not Going Drinking in Georgetown” and “Off to the Sea” will sound familiar to fans of the East-Coast, party-folk stylings of the ‘Thieves; however these contrast with the more contemplative “Mats Sundin’s Tears”, exploring Canadian nostalgia and the connections between soldier, home and hockey, and “Head Full of Fire” which riffs on what an on-line dating profile of a career soldier might consist.
The WWII anthem “Goodnight Eileen” considers love in wartime. Some really dark matter gets a full airing: “How Long Have I Been Sleeping”, is a song considering recovery from trauma and the danger or self-harm and suicide; “Taking the Cougar to Tarin Kowt” comes close to protest, raging against the exploitation of soldiers’ courage, obedience and discipline.
The album was recorded by Mike Kay and mixed by Chris Bradley. it will be supported with a tour of Eastern Canada in 2018.
Banner photo: T.H. Wall