The road to the making of Sorrows and Glories, the latest full-length release from Manitoba folk trio Red Moon Road, was not an easy one.
But sometimes life’s greatest rewards and lessons can stem from the most unfortunate of circumstances. At least that is what Red Moon Road band member Daniel Peloquin-Hopfner believes.
“We were getting ready to embark on a big tour in 2013 when [bandmate] Sheena [Rattai] severely broke her leg,” Peloquin-Hopfner recalls, noting the group had been counting pretty heavily on income from the tour to help them offset the costs of the making their latest effort.
While lesser-willed bands might have crumbled, Peloquin-Hopfner doesn’t hesitate to say how he believes the experience actually made them stronger in the end.
“It was only when we had that pause forced upon us that we realized just how invested each of us are in this group. Not that it ever was about fortune and fame to any of us, but it was the feeling we get from making music together.”
Asked if the group harboured any concern that the scuttled tour might permanently halt the impressive momentum that the group had built up at that point, Peloquin-Hopfner says that it was absolutely on their minds.
“That spectre definitely hung over us. We were so looking forward to getting on the road and performing for the audience that we had cultivated up to that point. To not be able to deliver upon that was jarring. It was a big reality check, but we chose to focus on the positive, and what we could accomplish instead of the things that were out of our control.”
And so, with Rattai’s broken leg in tow, Peloquin-Hopfner says the trio, which also includes Daniel Jordan, embarked on making Sorrows and Glories. Not surprisingly, Rattai’s injury helped serve as occasionally indirect inspiration for lyrical subject matter for a number of tracks that echoed a theme of hurting and the subsequent healing process.
Recorded by Juno Award winner David Travers-Smith and Murray Pulver, Sorrows and Glories is Red Moon’s Road most definitive work to date. Not only does the album boast some of the group’s strongest songs of their career, it is also one of their most diverse works, embracing Beatles-esque pop at one turn, while exploring folk-inspired choral arrangements the next.
Formed in 2011, following stints as a part of other bands, Peloquin-Hopfner says Red Moon Road set out to differentiate themselves from the very beginning.
“Daniel [Jordan] and myself were sitting around a campfire after we had each wrapped up tours with others, we talked about how great it would be to play our own songs and music and bring that intimate feeling of sitting around the campfire to the music we wrote.”
Ultimately, he says, the group strives to present an alternative to a lot of modern music’s overproduced tendencies.
“That was always the goal with this group: Focus on minimal arrangements and allow people to get back to something real. In this age of overstimulation, everyone is trying to outdo one another and come out on top. Folk music seems to have become a bit trendy again these last few years, which I think is great, but I think the big reason behind that is that people are looking to get back to appreciating the simplicity that can be found in music,” Peloquin-Hopfner says.
“Part of the beauty of folk music is the legends that get passed down from one generation to the next. That tradition of the troubadour carrying stories from one part of the country to another is something we can identify with. Having the opportunity to travel the world with our instruments is just the icing on the cake.”
What: Red Moon Road
When: Friday April 22, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Riverview Arts Centre, 400 Whitepine Rd., Riverview
Tickets start at $10,plus service charge. Advance tickets are available at Sobeys (1160 Findlay Blvd., Riverview, Jean Coutu (438 Coverdale Rd., Riverview), and Frank’s Music (245 Carson Dr., Moncton)