Fools Tongue
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Fools Tongue

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2006 | SELF

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada | SELF
Established on Jan, 2006
Band Alternative World




"Fools Tongue"

“We’ve come to the realization that we’re really awful at writing pop songs,” laughs Luke Ertman, one-half of the genre-melding duo Fool’s Tongue. “We’ve tried and we’ve failed, and that’s OK. We’re not all in the dumps about it.”

As it turns out, not being able to write a conventionally popular type of song has worked out just fine for Fool’s Tongue. Ertman and longtime friend Jeff Ramsey began playing music together in junior high when they bought guitars in the hope of becoming rock stars—”Of course that didn’t happen, but such is life,” Ertman says with a chuckle. The band began to take shape a few years ago, as Fool’s Tongue searched for its niche. After trying out the rock and folk scenes and realizing neither was the best fit for the band’s style—and losing band members along the way—Ertman (who plays the Chapman stick) and Ramsey (who plays a custom instrument called a bowguit that resembles an electric cello crossed with a guitar) decided to forge ahead as a twosome about two years ago.

After an uncertain start, Fool’s Tongue has found its footing on its debut album New World, a rock opera where pop-rock blends with cultural sounds to reveal influences from Asia, the Middle East and Europe. Accompanying Fool’s Tongue’s exotic and multifaceted sonic palette is a story inspired by Alice in Wonderland. The tale begins when young man is woken up by a strange woman who beckons him into the forest and leads him on a journey to embrace ideas of freedom, spirituality and stepping away from a materialistic life—there’s a subtle love story thrown in the mix, too.

Fool’s Tongue will be playing New World live for the first time and in its entirety, accompanied by a seven-piece band featuring vocalist Cassia Schramm at their CD release show this Saturday.

“It’s something that really tripped us out, actually, when we wrote it … we wanted all these world influences and things, but we also wanted it to be a concise album. We didn’t want it to sound like it was a different artist on every single track. At a certain point we decided that it was gong to be Alice in Wonderland and that we’d just go down the rabbit hole and whatever happens, happens,” says Ertman, noting the musical style was also strongly influenced by Peter Gabriel and Sting. “The Alice in Wonderland analogy kind of happened because it was like, we’re just going to follow this thing wherever it goes.” - Vue Weekly

"I Like This: Fools Tongue"

This band from Edmonton obviously loves their 80s-era Peter Gabriel and Roxy Music. Probably Sting, too. - Alan Cross

"Suffer These Fools Gladly"

If you weren't familiar with the wealth of musical experience behind Jeff Ramsay and Luke Ertman you would be extremely surprised to hear the complexity and depth of the music they have created in their band, Fools Tongue. Each are accomplished musicians, singers and performers in their own right, with Luke having written the musical score for the Alberta Badlands Passion Play and having done a lot of work with the renown Rosebud Theatre company.
With Jeff on guitar and Luke on the Chapman Stick (a kind of bass/hybrid instrument) these two young men who both hail from the Millet, AB area have been friends for many years. As a matter of fact, Fools Tongue has been around for about eight years when Jeff and Luke started out as a straight rock band. In the years since their sound has morphed and grown into something so innovative it almost defies description. Compared to the likes of Peter Gabriel, Sting, U2, Crosby, Still Nash and Young and Steely Dan to name a few, their music was summed up in Rockline Magazine as sounding "Like an etherial chamber orchestra guided by an alt-rock sensibility. A New World indeed".
High praise indeed for the band's first album titled "New World" which was recorded in Luke's home studio. "Jeff and I did all the writing on the album." said Luke. "Then we brought in some really talented local musicians that we knew and had vocalist Cassia Schramm come in to do a lot of the singing as a featured vocalist on it."
After getting the music recorded the boys wound up sending their album to France to be mastered. "The guy we picked to do it was very expensive but we feel he was the right choice for us. I feel like we got this album 80-90% the way we wanted it which is really good. We're happy with it." shared Luke. And after listening to the hauntingly lush production on the album I don't think anyone would disagree.
Now they are ready to showcase this work of art to the rest of the world with their CD release party taking place on February 22nd at the Capitol Theatre in Fort Edmonton Park. "We looked at a couple of different venues but when we saw the huge stage at the Capitol Theatre and all the classic touches in that beautiful space we knew that was the right place for us." stated Luke.
Coming from a theatre background, both Jeff and Luke see this album as not just a stand alone piece of music but rather as more of a full sensory production. "We will have the full band onstage with us." said Luke, which is comprised of a seven piece orchestra. "The music is the music. When you listen to the CD you will hear a big, complex, deep sound and we will be performing exactly that on stage. No pushing a button and having back tracks playing. We have really good people and we all really enjoy playing this music."
The dream that Luke and Jeff would one day like to see become reality is to perform the album with a full, theatrical set designed around the albums theme. "It was loosely written as a story type/concept album revolving around the bible story of Samuel being called three times by The Lord in the night. If you listen closely you will hear this story running lightly through the whole album. Unfortunately that kind of production would probably cost around $30,000.00 to put on and we just aren't at that point yet!" Luke admitted with a smile.
But who knows what the future holds for these talented young men. Their song "Faith" was already Song Of The Day back in November on CKUA Radio and they have been featured on CBC Radio several times, amongst others.
Their album, New World, and all of the singles, can be purchased on iTunes, while some tickets for the CD release party can still be found at Treat yourself and all your senses to an evening of excellent music on February 22nd and you will be able to tell people that you saw Fools Tongue up close and personal before they made it big. - Pipestone Flyer

"Fools Tongue "New World" Review"

Edmonton based band, Fools Tongue released their album, “New World” on April 30 of this year and if you haven’t heard of them, you should check the album out here:

The band has set the date for a live premiere of the album in Edmonton on February 22, 2014. If you are able to get to the show, I would recommend it. The sound is unlike anything I’ve heard in quite sometime, and I agree with what I read, it is hypnotic and really tells a story.

Their single, “Heart” was released on November 29 and it’s a beautiful song that I would recommend you take the time and listen to. You won’t regret it.

Keep an eye out for an upcoming interview with Fools Tongue, I’m sure you’ll be interested to find out more about these extremely talented musicians! - Canadian Beats

"Fools Tongue moves to studio for new album"

EDMONTON — What happens when elaborate rock songs, fantasy dream scenarios, exotic instruments, global rhythms and a talent for music theatre come together?

You might call it an alternative global art rock opera, or maybe just New World.

That’s the new release from the multi-instrumental vocal duo of Luke Ertman and Jeff Ramsey, working under the banner Fools Tongue. But their sophisticated, eclectic concept album is hard to categorize. As they ponder how to market this New World, the only thing Ertman is sure of is that it’s not pop. “Every time we’ve tried to make a straight pop song it’s just awful.”

Which is not to suggest New World doesn’t have an intriguing, entertaining sound. In the months leading up to its official release, the album has already enjoyed radio airplay in Edmonton.

Ramsey, who also designed the snazzy CD graphics, admits the project has taken a lot of time, but working with a specific story outline helped to keep them on track. “Once we finished the album, we were really excited about getting it in front of people, but we realized it was going to be bigger than anything we’ve ever done before.”

Fools Tongue has been around for about five years in some form. Mounting creative frustrations after a drummer’s exit about two years ago inspired Ertman and Ramsey to drop their previous incarnation as a folk-rock trio and shift directions toward what would become the New World project.

“Up until then we had always been a live band, rehearsing tunes and playing live,” Ertman explains. “But I had done a lot of studio work for the theatre so we decided to work in the studio more. Now it has evolved into something bigger than the two of us, so this album launch is actually our first show with an expanded band to recreate the album.”

Five other musicians will join Ertman and Ramsey onstage Saturday for the launch, with a bank of percussionists, timpani included, and Calgary vocalist Cassia Schramm. She’s the only other artist apart from the duo on the CD, cast as a phantom female character.

At the composition level, New World offers extended song forms, layered vocal harmonies and a myriad range of influences, from rock and folk-pop to acoustic and electronic drums in a Middle Eastern vein. Given the luxury of unlimited time to experiment in his own studio, Ertman says their working methods are pretty intuitive.

“The song forms just kind of happened but once we had all these different tunes, when we were trying to make the through-story make sense, one story we grabbed hold of was Alice In Wonderland. Once you’re down the rabbit hole, anything goes.”

Their New World myth serves as the vehicle to unleash theatrical imagery over the hour-long 14-track CD. The story thread entails a dream scenario as the protagonist is awakened in the middle of the night by a strangely familiar woman. He follows her on a journey into darkness that eventually brings them to a new world and enlightenment.

That theme has a certain spiritual element but it’s open to interpretation, says Ertman. “It involves an encounter but it wasn’t intended to feel religious or preachy at all.” - Edmonton Journal


"The Dreaming Tree" single released  2014 - Fools Tongue Productions

"New World" released 2013 - Fools Tongue Productions

"A Rough Cut EP" released 2009 - Crowtown Productions



Luke Ertman and Jeff Ramsey consciously chose the rock and roll road less travelled, eschewing short-term popularity and acclaim for long-term artistic integrity and creative mastery.

The long-time Alberta-based friends and musical collaborators, who call their project Fools Tongue, believe their patience, perseverance, hard work and dedication has been rewarded with a brilliantly theatrical tour de force debut album called New World. After years of fluctuating lineups and painful struggles to find the bands true, distinct and authentic voice, one small conversation two years ago changed the course of this bands history, sending them down an exciting and innovative new path.

What Fools Tongue has done with the breathtakingly original New World is meld some of the exotic soundscapes that Ertman was creating for theatrical scores, with the uniquely intricate and sublime melodies and musical stylings that Ramsey was working on. Through this process, they created something that sounds both of this world, but otherworldly at the same time.

The end result is an album that reminds listeners of the more eclectic compositions of Peter Gabriel, with the epic storytelling of Pink Floyds The Wall or The Whos Tommy. New World is very much like a rock opera, with a central narrative that runs through the 14 tracks and takes the listener, both musically and lyrically, on an emotional roller coaster ride.

The music is spellbindingly exotic and at times almost hypnotic as the melodies, harmonies and rhythms of far-flung lands blend superbly with a slick, Roxy Music-esque suave pop-rock groove. The uniqueness of this musical melange continues to the instrumentation. Ramsey had constructed an instrument that is part six string guitar and part cello, while Ertman plays
a bass-like instrument called the Chapman Stick which sees the player tap the strings.

A live premiere of New World has been set for Feb. 22, 2014 in Edmonton, and will see a seven-piece version of Fools Tongue come to life, with a sophisticated computerized musical production augmented by a highly schooled percussionists and a female vocalist Cassia Schramm who also appears on the album adding a feminine counterpoint to Ertmans vocalizations.

For their entire musical partnership (spanning over 15 years), Ramsey and Ertman have never allowed their music to drift into whatever was trendy or popular. They had a vision and stuck with it, even when band members came and went because they couldnt share in the vision.

The creative force behind the band would have none of that, sticking to their guns even when it has meant difficulty getting gigs in clubs and bars, even when it meant losing band members, or dealing with criticism or derision from friends and family. They knew something special would come of it.

We never listened to the mainstream stuff. We were always looking for artists who were a little bit out there, a little bit different, a little more interesting, because that was the sort of music we were always creating, even as kids. It was always hard for us to play pop music, and we couldnt write pop music to save our lives, jokes Ramsey.

Even though people like Sting and Peter Gabriel and Steely Dan had mainstream hits, a lot of their stuff was very unique, very distinctive. So a lot of that experimental 1980s music was our schooling. But it made it hard for our music to be heard. It was always a struggle as to how we could find a venue where we could create an atmosphere where our music is going to work. So its been an uphill battle to get our music heard, but we know theres an audience for it.

New World represents musical storytelling at its very best, and it also represents the fruition of years of toil and creative highs and lows, and proves the old adage that the best things in life are worth waiting for.

Band Members