Huron is a rock and roll band from Hamilton, Ontario. Formed in early 2008; by the end of that year had begun tracking our debut record with producer Sir Ian Blurton (Weakerthans, Cursed, Amy Millan).
In the months it took to put the finishing touches on the record, we got around Southern Ontario a fair bit on our own and also acting as supporting players in others' bands. As a full band we've backed Julie Fader (Great Lake Swimmers, Sarah Harmer Band), Tom Wilson (Junkhouse, Blackie & The Rodeo Kings), Shotgun Jimmie (Shotgun & Jaybird) and awesome Hamilton songstress Terra Lightfoot. Most recently we've teamed up with our pal Sir Ian to form his new band Happy Endings. We've enjoyed a successful double residency - playing both Huron and Happy Endings sets - at Toronto's Dakota Tavern, the coolest damn place in the city. We've been really fortunate to have so many folks in Toronto find out about us because of these gigs. Our residency will end at the end of February 2010.
We're pretty excited that our record is finally going to see the light of day this Spring, on Latent Recordings/Fontana North. It's a big old southern-fried Sabbath riffin' affair, with heavy nods to electric Neil Young, the Beatles and The Band. Sometimes the Floyd and the Dead get the better of us and it gets psychedelic. Often it's some combination of those.
As supporting players and members of other bands we learned to hit the road hard and to keep it rockin' every night. Our plan now is the same, in order to bring these tunes to as many people who want to hear them.
You might be interested to know that the National Post's Ampersand column recently put us on their fairly short list of bands they'd invest in in 2010 (hypothetically of course). You can read about that over in the "Press" section.
See you out on the road...
Cam Malcolm - vocals, guitar
Aaron Goldstein - vocals, guitar, pedal steel guitar
Adam Melnick - bass, organ
Pete Hall - drums, vocals
2010 - Huron
(debut CD and LP)
Huron is a Band Screaming to Be Heard by Graham Rockingham
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King-size riff rock with a rootsy edge from a Hamilton band that’s screaming to be heard. If the dou...King-size riff rock with a rootsy edge from a Hamilton band that’s screaming to be heard. If the double guitar intro on opening track The Biggest Dig doesn’t send you reeling, then you’re just not playing it loud enough. Huron has been hiding out at Toronto’s Dakota Tavern for the past few months playing some big buzz shows with indie rock lord Ian Blurton. Guitarists Aaron Goldstein and Cam Malcolm have also been learning the ropes with Tom Wilson’s Lee Harvey Osmond. The Cowboy Junkies like them enough to put Huron’s debut on their own Latent label. It’s time to start taking these guys seriously, in a big way.
Huron - "Huron" By Aaron Brophy
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It's no accident that Huron are tied so closely to Canadian rock royalty, Ian Blurton. He produced t...It's no accident that Huron are tied so closely to Canadian rock royalty, Ian Blurton. He produced the record and they play as his backing band, but more importantly, the four Hamilton, Ont. rockers share that same thunderous rock soul that Blurton so perfectly channels with his gnarly beard and micstand bashing ways.
The band's nine-song self-titled debut album does a wonderful job of capturing all the fuzzy rock you'd hope for from a group who seem more at home in 1974 than 2010. Standouts the "The War Between" and the Crazy Horse-aping "The Big Dig" will certainly do nothing to dispel the notion that they're retro rockers, but it's not all boogie van era flashbacks. Wicked riffer "Chicken Wing" has as much in common with Thrush Hermit and latter Tricky Woo as it does Deep Purple.
Nothing Huron's doing here is reinventing the wheel, but in the absence of a time machine to take you back 35 years, this record will do nicely for anyone who still wears jean jackets.
Huron - "Huron" By Vish Khanna
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A powerful live force, Huron's dynamic debut is rooted in country tones, but stands apart because of...A powerful live force, Huron's dynamic debut is rooted in country tones, but stands apart because of its unique amalgamation of rock riffage and pop finesse. The Hamilton, ON band are led by distinctive songwriters Aaron Goldstein and Cam Malcolm, who each wear their influences on rolled up sleeves. Scorching guitarists, the two have an affinity for the classic, left-of-centre folk rock of the Band or the Byrds, but were clearly just as taken with the Super Friendz, Thrush Hermit and other representatives of the mid-'90s Halifax pop explosion. The choo-choo train chug of something like "King and Country" shows off their gritty exuberance, while some latter day Wilco seeps through the pedal steel-soaked, Big Pink buzz of "Chicken Wing." Beyond their pop acumen, Huron are great at stretching songs out and revelling in space and grooves. "Living and Dead" might explode with an FM radio chorus, but the build is nuanced, shimmering with sounds under urgent, everyman vocals. Blurton's stamp is all over blasting pop like "Corktown," and the partnership is a great boon for Huron, a new band with a compelling musical foundation.
What drew Huron together?
Aaron Goldstein: I first met Cam [Malcolm] when he was in a band called the Sweet Homewreckers, who played a show with my band, the Surly Young Bucks. He and I really clicked on Thrush Hermit because Clayton Park is a huge record for both of us.
Huron's diverse sound is country rock, but really heavy.
Yeah, the heavy stuff started with me, but Cam has crossed over, writing heavier parts. And the pop thing comes from him and is rubbing off on me. Cam's really into Gram Parsons and I've been playing steel guitar for a while. But I had a Sabbath and Metallica phase as a kid and, again, Clayton Park has those heavy, poppy elements that we relate to.
What did Blurton bring to the table?
Ian's just the total master of sounds. The first tune we cut was "The Biggest Dig" and when we went in to listen back to it our jaws just dropped at the sound. He's just a straight-up, no-bullshit guy who's just a fan of a good song and it worked really well. He's just music, beginning to end. (Latent)
Disc of the Week by Jason Keller
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Though they’ve been getting plenty of attention as the Crazy Horse-like backing band for Ian Blurton...Though they’ve been getting plenty of attention as the Crazy Horse-like backing band for Ian Blurton’s Happy Endings project, these Hamiltonians are capable of delivering charged-up riff rock without the local guitar master’s cachet.
They can also effortlessly slide into a lap-steel-aided mellow twang, as on opener The Biggest Dig, a song that embodies Huron’s dynamic of heavy-crunch guitar sections surrounded by quieter verses. Aaron Goldstein’s voice might remind you of Joel Plaskett’s, but his lyrics are more George Jones (see Chicken Wing’s drug and booze ruminations).
Blurton handles production duties, imbuing the debut with his patented balance of warm tones and ferocious fuzz.
Top track: The Biggest Dig
The Canadian Futures List for 2010: Music writers on the Canadian bands they'd invest in
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After seeing Huron throwing down with Ian Blurton at the Dakota Tavern recently as part of his weekl...After seeing Huron throwing down with Ian Blurton at the Dakota Tavern recently as part of his weekly Happy Endings extravaganza, I'd have to put my money on those flannel-flying Hamilton hombres. And no, my growing up in the Steel City has nothing to do with it, Huron simply has what it takes – the chops, the tunes and the facial hair.
Based on the members' past exploits, Huron may not seem like blue chip stock. Singer/guitarist Cam Malcolm barely made it outside of Peterborough fronting the Sweet Homewreckers, sideman-for-hire Aaron Goldstein picked sweet steel guitar licks for half the Golden Horseshoe's aspiring twangers while bassist/keyboardist Adam Melnick was last seen in Dan Griffin's Regrets and drummer Pete Hall did hard time in A Northern Chorus but somehow when they got together as Huron this time last year, it clicked. You'll know it when you hear their Blurton-produced debut which is available now as a digital download at huronmusic.ca in advance of the early 2010 street date.
- Tim Perlich, theperlichpost.blogspot.com
Riff Revival: Huron Summons the Spirit of Southern Rock
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By Amy Kenny If the album he’s currently producing doesn’t get signed by a label, Ian Blurton is ...By Amy Kenny
If the album he’s currently producing doesn’t get signed by a label, Ian Blurton is retiring. A strong stance for a man who has been part of the Canadian music scene for more than two decades, as both musician and producer for bands like Cowboy Junkies, Change of Heart, Amy Millan, Tricky Woo and The Weakerthans. But that’s how cetain Blurton is that Hamilton’s Huron is a band worth banking on.
Decidedly rock and roll, the band’s influence is wide and varied. Drawing inspiration from sources such as Black Sabbath, Neil Young and the Beatles, Pink Floyd and the Grateful Dead, Huron’s sound is diverse. And so are the bandmates.
Originally known as Jawbone (re-named when it was discovered a Detroit blues guitarist went by the same handle), Huron’s line-up is a carte du jour of southern Ontario musicians. Drummer Pete Hall used to play with the critically acclaimed A Northern Chorus. Bassist Adam Melnick has lent his guitar and organ skills to the Surly Young Bucks, Kilhuminzu, Terra Ligtfoot and Dan Griffin’s Regrets. Singer/guitarist Cam Malcolm is the former front man of Peterborough’s Sweet Homewrecker. And Aaron Goldstein — the go-to guy among Ontario bands looking to highlight their albums with the breezy swoon of pedal steel — has played with Tom Wilson, Matthew de Zoete, Michelle Titian, James McKenty & the Spades and Junior Boys.
Goldstein and Malcolm share the spotlight as co-singers and songwriters, a partnership that gives the band its identity. “It’s like chocolate and peanut butter,” Blurton says of the duo. “Two great tastes that taste great together.” It’s a glib, but true, analogy. Malcolm’s head-bopping pop sensibilities collide with Goldstein’s riff-riddled anthems, resulting in an outfit that mixes hard rock with harmony and city with country.
Melnick agrees. “Two people playing similar styles may think more highly of their own ideas with much stronger conviction than two people playing opposite styles and commenting on one another’s ideas,” he says. Huron’s is a system of checks — a self-balancing act.
Since Huron’s inception in early 2008, their psychedelic, southern-fried, folk rock has earned them a solid following throughout Hamilton, but how did they snag such a high-profile producer?
Goldstein had long been a fan of Blurton’s crushing, amped-up rock when he stumbled upon the website for the Toronto guitarist’s most recent project, C’Mon, last winter. Included in the band’s bio was a kind of damn-the-man-ifesto stating their desire to play the backyards and basements of their fans. At the time, Goldstein was living in a house notorious for its bi-monthly basement concerts. On a whim, he contacted Blurton to play. A couple months later, the two were discussing gear at a crowded West Hamilton house party. Goldstein handed Blurton a cassette recording of a few Huron tracks and six months later Blurton mentioned that he had a free weekend if Huron wanted to record something.
There was the initial concern over finances and fan base — did the band have enough of either to justify spending so much time and money in the studio? — but, as Melnick pointed out, when someone like Blurton wants to produce your record, you don’t falter, you jump. The bandimmediately booked a weekend at Hamilton’s Vibewrangler Studios.
The plan heading into the weekend was to record an EP’s worth of music, but Blurton pushed for full-length from day one. His drive, though intimidating, gave the songs a weight that made everyone more serious about the album. Over the course of three 12-hour days, the band powered through nine songs and reworked various arrangements on the fly.
“He trimmed the fat for sure,” Malcolm says of their producer. “I can’t even think of what those songs were like because they make so much more sense the way he arranged them.” Goldstein agrees. “There’s space there now,” he explains. “We’re the kind of band where the record could have been this big, sludgy noise...just a wash of sound. But I think it sounds really airy. There’s room to breathe.”
That breathing space is filled with the subtle hum of a Hamilton summer: the distant shunting of trains in Kinnear Yard off Gage Park, stories from the Corktown neighbourhood where Goldstein lived when writing the album and the word played-upon title “Could Not Understand,” often jokingly introduced at live shows as “Connaught Understand” – an ode to Malcolm’s favourite fish and chip joint.
The record is at once very Canadian and a slice of the ’70s. From the driving beat of “The Big Dig” to the sad, slow slide of songs like “War Between” — a lovely album-ender that rises and falls like the Ontario fields of Malcolm’s lyric – if Goldstein’s thick, heavy rock is at the centre of Huron’s sound, Malcolm’s trademark sugar-smooth chords envelop it. Though it’s currently without a name, Huron hopes that their album won’t be without a home much longer. They recently completed a mass mail out to 40 different labels, agents and managers. Their plan is to sit on responses for six months. If the statute on that tactic runs out before they’re signed, the band is going to privately press the album to vinyl in early fall and follow it up with a tour. In the meantime, you can preview a few cuts online (www.myspace.com/huronband) or better yet, try to catch them live.
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By Andrew Baulcomb It’s the best moment in rock and roll—the period when your band is on the verg...By Andrew Baulcomb
It’s the best moment in rock and roll—the period when your band is on the verge of taking that next huge step, or on the brink of utter collapse. It’s nerve–wracking, terrifying, and above all else, exciting. With a full–length album in the can and legendary producer Ian Blurton at their side, Hamilton’s own Huron have definitely reached the point of no return. Fortunately for local music lovers, the boys are more than ready to take that leap of faith.
Featuring a veritable who’s who of Hamilton music personalities, the band came together slowly and organically as the scene revolved around them. A series of breakups, one–offs, and lineup shuffles eventually brought the four members of Huron together into one collective unit. Guitarist Aaron Goldstein touched on the lengthy and somewhat complex history of the band—originally known around town as Jawbone.
“I had heard about the Sweet Homewreckers and knew Cam [Malcolm, vocals/guitar] was at the helm of that band. Turns out he was a Hamiltonian who had gone to school in Peterborough and started the band there.”
Fast forward to the summer of 2007. Goldstein played a joint gig with the ex–Homewreckers frontman and the two began toying with the notion of forming their own band. “A collaboration between Cam and I seemed ideal, as we had a lot of similar influences. I really liked his writing and singing, probably more than anyone I could think of at the time. I had been on the lookout for a potential co–writer, too, because it was something I wanted to try. So I continually put the bug in his ear that we should play together.”
At the eleventh hour, Goldstein managed to piece together the final Huron lineup for an upcoming gig. With Malcolm, Adam Melnick [bass], and ex–Northern Chorus frontman Pete Hall [drums] all on board, the band began carving out their own little roots–rock niche in the burgeoning Hamilton scene. According to Goldstein, things began to click almost instantaneously.
“When Cam and I started writing, the first two tunes we did were very country–rock. I had always been a fan of older, heavier music like Black Sabbath, old Metallica, Zappa, and Skynyrd, but had gotten away from it in recent years. I got way into Neil Young and Gram Parsons, took up the pedal steel guitar, and started playing with anyone and everyone who would have me.”
Somewhere along the line, however, things began to shift. “Early on in rehearsals, things began to get heavy. It was really nice to get back to playing some guitar without pulling out the steel, and I think we found that all four of us really had an affinity for a hard–hitting riff.”
And hit hard they did. So hard, in fact, that it eventually caught the attention of ex–Change of Heart frontman Ian Blurton—the closest thing our country may have to a bona fide indie rock legend. Having previously worked with bands like Cursed, the Weakerthans, and Tricky Woo, Blurton signed on to produce the band’s forthcoming debut after yet another series of chance meetings with Goldstein. A basement gig in Goldstein’s old house led to the exchanging of phone numbers, and the pedal steel specialist was drafted to do some session work for Blurton. When Huron eventually came into their own, the favour was returned.
“When we first booked the sessions, the goal was to try and nail four songs in two days. I found out that Ian had an extra day available and so did Vibewrangler [the Hamilton studio], so I booked them for three days and then we scrambled to get the money together. In the end we nailed the beds for nine songs, and then began overdubs in Toronto at a place called Highfield Sound, which is run by Ian’s old buddy Bernard Meizza [ex–Change of Heart]. Ian is a great dude, and he’s really committed to making strong records. He put in a lot of late nights for us and worked incredibly hard, and I think his stamp is evident.”
A release date for the album has yet to be determined, but Goldstein is confident that the band is sitting on a real gem—a slick, powerful, and genuinely satisfying collection of folk–inspired riff rock. “I think our genuine satisfaction and pride in the record has changed the way we think of the band. I think we’re all taking things a little more seriously now because we know we have something really good on our hands.”
When the finished product finally does drop, you can be sure that more than a few casual fans are going to take notice. In the meantime, keep your eyes and ears peeled for upcoming tour dates and local performances. You won’t want to miss this band twice. V
The Big Dig
King & Country
Could Not Understand
Living & Dead
The Biggest Dig
There are no upcoming dates at this time.