The MusicNerd Files Edition #20

No matter where your musical tastes lie, chances are there will be something for you to enjoy in the way of live music in April throughout Metro Moncton. Billy Talent, Sum 41 and Opeth are among the heavy-hitting acts that will be performing at Casino New Brunswick while The Tide & Boar in Downtown Moncton hosts one of Canada’s arguably best songwriters, Justin Rutledge, at month’s end.

Here are some of the highlights for the month of April:

■ The Wilderness Of Manitoba performs in Sackville at Struts Gallery on Sunday, April 7 as special guests to Julie Doiron. Struts Gallery is located at 7 Lorne Street in Sackville. The show is a fundraiser for Sackville community radio station CHMA. Show time is 8 p.m.

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After having toured rather extensively in support of their previous effort When You Left The Fire, it would be inevitable for the experiences of The Wilderness Of Manitoba to find their way into the songs contained on the group’s latest record. Released this past September, Island Of Echoes continues the group’s lush, folk-inspired sound with grand tradition.

“Both songwriting and touring are very cerebral processes to me,” vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Will Whitwham tells me. “Touring is its own unique experience that puts you in a certain headspace that you are required to maintain throughout. It was this coupled with playing night after night to people who don’t necessarily want a quiet folk show in a nightclub setting.

“We wanted to explore a wider or bigger sound that needed greater detail to be given to the bass and drums. It took awhile to complete this transition on the road together over the last few tours but we are starting to see this intention manifest itself in our live show.”

■ Gianna Lauren performs at the Black Duck, 19 Bridge Street, Sackville on Sunday April 14. Show time is set for 4 p.m.

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Halifax-based singer-songwriter Gianna Lauren is finally getting set to release a follow-up effort to her acclaimed 2010 release Some Move Closer, Some Move On. The six-song EP On Personhood is due for release on Tuesday, April 2 via Forward Music.

Lauren tells the Times & Transcript that there was a spirit of camaraderie behind the making of her new record that hadn’t necessarily been mined on prior efforts.

“There is a spirit of camaraderie behind On Personhood that I have never achieved in any of my past recording experiences,” she says. “For five days we rehearsed, recorded, ate, slept, and partied in the House of Miracles studio without a break. It was a very concentrated experience, and when we left, that was it. I couldn’t labour over each part, or go back and re-build pieces. Usually I walk into a recording session with every detail mapped out. In this case I wrote the songs and kept them stripped-down to leave room for the band’s creativity. Because I had gone into the making of the EP without any expectations, I walked away feeling empowered that I had challenged my previous recording experiences.”

Bloody Diamonds perform at Plan B Lounge, 212 St. George Street, Moncton, on Wednesday, April 17. Show time is set for 10 p.m.

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And then there were two members of Bloody Diamonds. After having endured a revolving door of band members throughout 2012, Halifax hard rock duo Bloody Diamonds members Sara Elizabeth and Jake Seaward are getting set to undertake a rather extensive tour of Southern Ontario and the Maritimes. Before the group lands in Moncton on April 17, the band will have played almost 21 shows and they will follow their Metro Moncton show with another nine shows through Newfoundland and Nova Scotia.

Asked how the former quartet has adapted to being a duo, Elizabeth says it has been a learning experience of sorts:

“There are less people which means less instruments, which means less noise,” she says. “But there’s beauty in the space. Some songs sound better with a little more room to breathe. As a duo, the set is definitely more laid back and bluesy but it’s still a rock n’ roll show.

“I have switched from keys to guitar which has increased my mobility while Jake has moved from bass to guitar with his hands and drums with his feet. It is definitely different but really, working as a duo has been a blessing in disguise. It has given us a good opportunity to re-examine old songs that otherwise probably would have been put on the back burner.”

Article published in the March 29, 2013 edition of The Times & Transcript