By Kerry Doole, Tandem Magazine
THREE METRE DAY: It is always exciting to come across a new group that emerges with a fully-formed and original sound and vision. That’s the case with this terrific Toronto trio. They’ve emerged from the much-loved THE HENRYS, with that group’s leader, slide guitarist/composer DON ROOKE, and violin virtuoso HUGH MARSH (BRUCE COCKBURN, LOREENA MCKENNITT) now joined by young vocalist/pump organist MICHELLE WILLIS. They’ve just released a superb debut CD, Coasting Notes, and its songs sounded even better at the Hugh’s Room launch performance. The group expanded to seven for the gig, and the backing vocals of JOANNA MOHAMMED and MARLA WALTERS helped add soulful depth to the material. Willis’ vocals occasionally recalled BETH ORTON in their purity, though she could also get sultry (as on “Honey Drip”). The beautifully poetic “Left At The Prairies” showcases Rooke’s real talent as a lyricist (The Henrys were primarily instrumental). No surprise to see plenty of musicians in the appreciative audience. Three Metre Day are now off on a California tour, and their next local gig is set for Fontana Swing (a loft space at 245 Carlaw) on Nov. 12. Highly recommended.