Joey Landreth’s CD release concert delights hometown fans

Joey Landreth performing at West End Cultural Centre. /ANNE MARTIN

Review: Joey Landreth CD Release Party @ West End Cultural Centre

So here we are…on this musical journey, in this car which is still running after two years. Sometimes it stalls and sometimes we’re driving around blindly because I don’t know where the hell we are. But we’re still moving forward. Mostly.

Let’s go back to June 25, 2016. Do you remember that day? We saw Tedeschi Trucks (at The Burt). I drove us there and like many of the bands we see, I had no idea who anyone was. But along the way, we saw a sign that said “Tedeschi Trucks this way” and it looked interesting to me, so we took that road.

The drive was quite lovely with pine trees and rock outcrops lining the road and the smell of a bonfire in the distance. We came to a clearing on the side of the road and there, performing on an old rickety stage with chipped cobalt blue paint was Joey Landreth.

He was all by himself, with nothing but his voice, a guitar and an amp. I gently pressed on the brake and rolled down the windows so we could rubber-neck his set on our way to Tedeschi Trucks. He peaked my interest enough to make a mental note to see him again and we kept going.

Today, the road says “Joey Landreth CD Release Party this way.” The road looks very similar to the Tedeschi Trucks one, but it’s not June, so I’m driving with one finger, silently wishing I had splurged on a heated steering wheel.

Keisha Booker looks warm on the rickety stage with her keyboardist, singing song after song about heartache and loss. Her lyrics are sad and full of confusion and pain, but she delivers them with sincerity and honesty.

She uses a lot of vocal runs and seems to have good control of her voice. She doesn’t appear to be a powerful singer, instead delivering her runs and transitions with softness. Her songs are mostly slow and similar, except for the last one “Killer”, which is a little more upbeat in tempo.

She mentions she is releasing an EP in the spring, but doesn’t specify exactly when or where.

We keep driving and at the end of the road is Joey Landreth’s stage. We can feel the energy in the cars around us; he has quite the following in Winnipeg and this show is sold out.

Joey and his band open the set with “Hard As I Can”, followed by “Gone Girl”.  I settle into my seat and think about how nice this music fells. I know this is only the second time I’ve seen him (and I’ve never seen The Bros. Landreth), but I like his lyrics and his voice.

He’s also got a great sense of humour, weaving stories about pissing people off in roundabouts while in England, in between songs.

The crowd enjoys “Made Up Mind” and “Let It Lie”, and sing along with the latter.

Joey speaks about his friendship with Donovan Woods and how he called him while on tour to tell Woods no one has heard of him in Yorkshire. The lyrics in “Time Served” (written with Woods) feels like it was written by someone twice Joey’s age.

The band leaves the stage (Ryan Voth – Drums & Meg Dolovich – Bass) and Joey tells us his girlfriend Anne, asked him why there were no songs written about her. He sings her song for us, with lyrics that include: “Take my eyes, I really don’t need to see, the most beautiful woman splits my rent with me.” We laugh.

Sometimes I find Joey’s guitar playing choppy. Sometimes it’s too soft, sometimes the accents are too loud and I have trouble following what he’s doing. But as soon as he puts the slide on his finger, everything seems to even out and he makes that guitar sing. The last three songs, including the title track to his new album “Whiskey”, are good examples of Joey’s work with the slide.

The cover of Queen’s Of The Stone Age’s “Make It Wit Chu” feature a great guitar build and monstrous bass notes by Meg and I’m covered in goose bumps.

The crowd stands and enthusiastically applauds right after “Still Feel Gone”. Joey takes the stage alone for two tunes including “Bird On A Wire”, dedicated to his Grandfather who died this past year.

The rest of the band comes back on stage for the final tune, the “happiest song” Joey ever wrote,“Better Together”. The crowd sings along and give him another standing ovation after it’s over.

As we’re leaving, some members of the audience are still singing as Joey hugs and shakes their hands at the door; like a one-man receiving line.

I enjoyed that. Let’s keep going on this journey and if we see another sign with his name on it, let’s stop the car again.

Good night.

Side note: This event included ASL interpreters, which I thought was a really cool idea, until I saw the idea in real life. I think I was expecting one interpreter, but there was a whole bunch of them and they took turns after every song. I think if there was one interpreter for the whole show, I wouldn’t have felt so drawn to look at them all the time because eventually I’d get used to the way that person signed. But with every new interpreter came new movements and new ways of expressing the song. They were like rotating dancers at the side of the stage and I found it kind of distracting. I still think it’s a good idea, but maybe less transitions would make it less distracting. It was easier as the show went on, but it definitely took me awhile to fully concentrate on the music.

TicketMOMster is a Rock and Jazz-loving Mom; single-handedly keeping Ticketmaster alive in Winnipeg. Follow her musical journey here:

Anne Martin


TicketMOMster is a Rock and Jazz-loving Mom; single-handedly keeping Ticketmaster alive in Winnipeg. Follow her musical journey here:

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