LAKE OF STEW is a friendly, six-piece acoustic string band from Montreal, Quebec. They sing all original, new songs, featuring great big vocal harmonies. Lots of people call their sound old-timey, but it ain't, it's new-timey, though it does recall a lot of old traditions all blended together. If you need a name to put to their sound, you wouldn't go wrong with "good-timey". Their live shows are energetic and fun, inspiring audiences of all ages to sing and clap and wiggle along.
They can play short sets, or play all night long.
Because they play acoustically, they can play on big stages with mics and PA systems, or in barns that don't even have electricity!
Dina Cindric - Accordion
Daniel Mckell - Guitare acoustique
Brad Thomas Levia - slide guitar, Guitare acoustique
Richard Rigby - Banjo, mandolin
Julia Narveson - Washtub Bass
Michael Rigby - mandolin, Guitare acoustique
Ain't Tired of Lovin' (Woodhog 2008)
Sweet as Pie (Dare to Care Records 2009)
Geoff Muldaur & the Texas Sheiks; Lake of Stew - Sweet as Pie
[+ Show ]
GEOFF MULDAUR & THE TEXAS SHEIKS Geoff Muldaur & the Texas Sheiks Tradition & Moderne tradition...
GEOFF MULDAUR & THE TEXAS SHEIKS
Geoff Muldaur & the Texas Sheiks
Tradition & Moderne
LAKE OF STEW
Sweet as Pie
Woodhog Recording Company
Are we in the midst of a new jug band revival? In October, I reviewed a great new jug band album by Maria Muldaur who got her start in the 1960s playing in the Even Dozen Jug Band, and, more famously, in Jim Kweskin’s Jug Band. Geoff Muldaur, Maria’s ex-husband, and former Kweskin band mate, and Montreal’s own Lake of Stew, have also released great new jug band albums.
Strictly speaking, in the absence of jug players, these are really string band, rather than jug band, albums (although producer Ken Whiteley does play the jug on one track on the Lake of Stew CD). But, they are in the spirit of the original Memphis-area jug bands of the 1930s, and certainly of the 1960s-era revivalists like Jim Kweskin & the Jug Band, and later revivalists like John Sebastian’s J-Band (which also included guest appearances by Geoff).
Speaking of Kweskin, he’s a guest-Sheik on Geoff’s album and takes the lead vocal on three tunes, including a remake of “Blues in the Bottle,” a song that was on the first Jim Kweskin & the Jug Band LP I bought back in the ‘60s.
I’ve loved almost everything Geoff Muldaur has recorded over the years – from his band work with Kweskin and Paul Butterfield, to his solo albums and collaborations with Maria and Amos Garrett. Geoff Muldaur & the Texas Sheiks stands tall with the best of his work. He’s a particularly fine blues singer and includes Texas Sheik versions of such songs as “Poor Boy, Long Way from Home,” “Right Now Blues” and “Cairo” (I recently heard my friend Andy Cohen, who kind of specializes in playing hard-to-play blues songs, say that “Cairo” is about the hardest song he plays).
As mentioned, Jim Kweskin, who led the leading jug band of the 1960s, steps up to the microphone to take the lead vocals on three songs. Other Sheiks who sing lead include guitarist Johnny Nicholas on three songs, including a fine take on Robert Johnson’s “Travelin’ Riverside Blues”; and bassist Bruce Hughes who offers a raggy version of “Don’t Sell It (Don’t Give It Away).”
Other members of the Texas Sheiks include the late guitarist Stephen Bruton – the album was recorded shortly before he lost his battle with cancer; Dobro player Cyndi Cashdollar; and fiddler Suzy Thompson, who also played on Maria Muldaur’s jug band album.
While Geoff Muldaur & the Texas Sheiks interpret a repertoire that dates back to the era of the original blues players and jug bands of the 1920s and ‘30s, Lake of Stew, on their second album, brings a ‘20s and ‘30s aesthetic to 14 contemporary songs written by various members of the six-piece band. Everyone in the band brings at least one song (and lead vocal) to the set list.
In my 2008 Montreal Gazette review of Ain't Tired of Lovin', the first Lake of Stew CD, I said “the lead vocals and irresistible harmonies shift through the band from song to song, and everything is played with an absolutely infectious energy” and that’s still the case on this CD. I love their energy, their harmonies, that all-acoustic instrumental approach and the quirky songs they write.
While the whole album is fun, my favourite tunes on first listen include Dina Cindric’s “Darlin’ Starlin’,” a really pretty love song with the lilt of a timeless Appalachian folksong; “Pretty Sarah,” Richard Rigby’s romp about tagging factory walls and ducking cops; and Julia Narveson’s “Hey Bully,” a musical challenge to some local bully that feels like it could be an old Gus Cannon song. This, BTW, is the track that Ken Whiteley plays jug on.
Along with Dina (accordion, kazoo, banjo, piano, bass, ukulele), Richard (mandolin, kazoo, harmonica, banjo) and Julia (washtub bass, banjo-ukelele, fiddle, bass), Lake of Stew's singer-songwriter-instrumentalists include Daniel McKell (guitar. jaw harp, banjo, kazoo, tenor banjo), Brad Levia (guitar), and Mike Rigby (guitar, mandolin, washboard & brush). A talented lot. Ken Whiteley variously adds washboard, banjo, mandolin and triangle to four of the 14 songs.
Sweet as Pie is less overtly political than Ain’t Tired of Lovin’, their first album, but it’s tighter. That’s mostly because they’ve played a lot over the past couple of years, but also because they’ve pared the size of the band down by a couple of members and recorded under the studio supervision of Ken Whiteley, one of Canada’s finest roots music producers (and musicians).
Lake of Stew - Sweet As Pie
[+ Show ]
À travers la controverse entourant la participation de la formation anglophone Lake of Stew à l'Autr...À travers la controverse entourant la participation de la formation anglophone Lake of Stew à l'Autre St-Jean, on a oublié de parler de l'essentiel: le combo montréalais excelle dans un old-time folk que l'on imagine interprété sur la galerie d'une maison perdue dans un champ de coton. Banjo, guitare acoustique, mandoline, piano, harmonica, accordéon et basse washtub s'unissent dans des compositions touchantes (Darlin' Starlin') et entraînantes (Wait for Your Knock). Contrastant avec ce paysage sonore traditionnel, les textes de Lake of Stew mettent en scène un quotidien urbain et rehaussé de clins d'oeil modernes, comme cette référence à KRS-One dans Pretty Sarah. On craque pour la légèreté du compact et l'esprit bon vivant qui s'en dégage.
Sweet As Pie
[+ Show ]
Sweet As Pie Dave Jaffer Sweet As Pie is so warm and likeable it feels like a bear hug. More t...Sweet As Pie
Sweet As Pie is so warm and likeable it feels like a bear hug. More than many comparable hillbilly-esque acts that come to mind, Lake Of Stew are charming and diverse in their sound. The differences between Hey Bully and Ride the Bear (my faves) are too many to count; that these two and songs like Oh My work is a testament to the songwriting skill of these Montrealers. Yes, sometimes this offering meanders and gets a little unfocused and silly (On the Porch and the moment of KRS-One love in Pretty Sarah), but mostly this is a big ol' winner.
Lake Of Stew have a repertoire of over 50 original songs.
Most recently, they have been playing songs from their recent album "Sweet As Pie". These include:
Sweet As Pie
Wait for your Knock
Such is Life
Jimmy Runs Fast
Through the Wires
On the Porch
Sit Down on It
Lone Black Fly
Ride the Bear
Mean Shakin' Mama
Songs from their 2008 album "Ain't Tired of Lovin'' include:
The Word is Love
I am Violent
Down, Down, Down
Dalai Lama (Ain't tired of lovin')
Motels of America
The Armadillo Song
The Water Bill
Other unreleased songs included on sets:
A Grain, a Green, a Root, a Bean
Phone is Tapped (And I don't care)
Rocks in the River
Cover songs include:
Death is Only a Dream (Stanley Brothers)
There are no upcoming dates at this time.