Having just seen Whitehorse in concert last week (see my review of March 3) where I got my paws on a copy of their EP “The Road To Massey Hall” I felt compelled to write a short review about it. But first some context; Massey Hall is arguably the most storied concert venue in Canada. The majestic hall has played host to some remarkable talent like Bob Dylan & The Band, The Rolling Stones, Rush, Gordon Lightfoot and on and on. So for Whitehorse to be headlining this venue is a big deal for them. Both Luke Doucet and Melissa McClelland have played Massey Hall as support for other acts. In interviews ahead of the show they both spoke of how they feel honoured to be in a sense invited to join the rich history of the hall and all those greats that have gone before.
It was with that spirit that Whitehorse have recorded a six song EP that pays homage to some artists have contributed to that history. The track listing is as follows; “Winterlong” (Neil Young), “If You Could Read My Mind” (Gordon Lightfoot), “It Ain’t Me, Babe” (Bob Dylan), “Dark Angel” (Blue Rodeo), “Strawberry Blonde” (Ron Sexsmith) and “Un Canadien Errant” (tradition, Leonard Cohen).
The EP is just Luke with his Gretsch White Falcon and Melissa with an acoustic guitar. Anyone hearing Whitehorse for the first time remarks about the amazing harmony their voices make together. That combined with the simple instrumentation make the EP sparse yet hauntingly beautiful. Every song is a re-imagining of the original but in such an infectious way that you find yourself playing it in your head before you know it.
“The Road To Massey Hall” was released teaser fashion as a serious of videos on YouTube prior to the show and is now available as a digital download the Six Shooter Records store (www.sixshooterrecords.com).