Kent McAlister & The Iron Choir
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Kent McAlister & The Iron Choir


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"Kent McAlister and the Iron Choir - The Way it Rolls"

Calgary-born, Vancouver-based songwriter Kent McAlister’s new album, The Way It Rolls, is a quantum leap ahead of his 2005 debut, Memory Replacer. While that first album was a sweet slice of smoky country, McAlister and his band The Iron Choir have locked into a spicy play-it-again alchemy on their new album.

Featuring just nine songs, McAlister wisely chose to go for quality over quantity. And what quality it is. While his trademark rootsy purée is still boldly in evidence, The Way It Rolls takes adventurous chances with time changes, breaks, and a fetching mariachi feel that wanders in and out of the melodies. McAlister’s formal studies in jazz are also put to good use in a manner that trims rather than tramples the feel.

Topping divine slices of pedal steel and trumpet are McAlister’s frictionless vocals, snuggling up to music that wears its pop, country and jazz influences sewn tastefully into the seams, just out of sight but not quite out of ear. And while it’s always risky to cover a songwriter like Leonard Cohen, the band’s wistful, breezy treatment of “That’s No Way to Say Goodbye” soars. - FFWD Magazine Calgary - Article by Mary-Lynn Wardle

"Canada's Kent McAlister and the Iron Choir will remain"

Kent McAlister’s Iron Choir latest and third record has been influenced by the likes of Calexico, Los Lobos & Tom Russell. Having said that, the record stands up on its own with great playing from the band and self-penned songs from Kent McAlister and band member & drummer Brendan Kreig who contributes two songs. ‘Spainish flavoured tales of nautical slavery, witty-beer soaked laments and the temptation of murderous revenge’ all appear on these country vignettes.
The band compromises of Kent (vocals, guitars), Chris Herbst (dobro, lap steel, bandolin, mandolin, electric guitar & vocals), Brendan Kreig (drums) and Jim Bennett (bass). The band are joined by several other musicians including Alison Gorman (trumpet), Devon Wells (banjo) and Bob Harris favourite (Kendell Carson on fiddle).

The Calexico influence is evident on the superb ‘Ballad Of The Oar & Chain’ a poignant story of nautical slavery featuring some terrific dobro interplay with trumpet and hand claps. The band return to more familiar country territory on ‘What Is This Evil’ – lap steel to the fore, so I’m happy.

‘Crossing Arm Blues’ & ‘Down & Out’ tread a well worn country path, but the songs and sound leave this listener under the impression that Kent and Iron Choir have plenty left in the tank. The closing epic song ‘The Cane & The Switch’ is the best song on this really fine effort. Great playing and song writing from Canada. - Americana UK - Article By Andy Riggs

"Reviews:: Kent McAlister & the Iron Choir"

Perhaps it’s because I’m all swollen up with Canadian music pride after the Popfest or more likely, it’s because Kent McAlister brings a fantastic twist on roots music, but I am really enjoying his new record, The Way it Rolls.

Despite being only nine songs, McAlister showcases a diverse palette and a mature style. Sure he uses country jangle and Canadiana, but he has a subtle 90’s alternative, slacker route that puts a modern spin on the dusty themes without straying too far from the things that make those styles so timeless. Wow, that was a long sentence.

The opening track - Circumstantial Dues – could have been lifted from my father’s record collection. The emotion filled strings and steel work (courtesy of Tim Tweedale) contrast the guitar work nicely and any doubt about his song writing is erased within a few strums.

McAlister stays with the traditional country vibe on Losing (Always Seems To Find Me), and if you played it at the local line dancing bar, no one would blink an eye until the nice melodic acoustic break down and rollicking, heavy outro. Hopefully Kent and the Iron Choir play in Vancouver soon (December 15th actually) because this is the type of song that takes on a life of its own live.

The band switches gears on the Spanish style horns on Ole Bandolier. The lyrics, banjo and drums would just play like another country song, but adding the horns to the arrangement adds an identity (kind of with the same success as Richmond Fountaine). It’s these types of risks that really make this album special.

The success of the record continues with the fantastic Leonard Cohen cover (which I talked about here) and then slows with the mysterious A Twisted Wire. The swirling strings and echoing guitar notes set a great tone for McAlister’s reflective thoughts. All That You Know sounds like it could be a The Great Outdoors track (Kent’s voice even sounds like Adam Nation’s).

The record ends just as strongly, with The Way it Rolls (which takes on a Minuteman feel), Ballad Of The Jaded Wagoneer (a dusty trail, lo-fi noise epic of an alcoholic falling of the wagon), and It Counts for Something.

This record would be a nice addition for any fan of country fried roots records, but don’t try to force him into the genre. McAlister really tries to think outside the box on this effort. - Hero Hill

"Kent McAlister - The Way It Rolls"

Say you are at a party, chatting up a nice young gal or guy, jumping from topic to topic in an effort to get to know one another. If you are reading this site, there is a good chance that music holds a large place in your heart. With that in mind, upon meeting a new person, the topic of music probably takes a few minutes at most before entering the picture. Humorously enough, when you ask someone what type of music they listen to, the response is normally generic. Most of the time, I hear something like “Ah, I listen to everything but country.” Unless you are situated down south, I have found from past experience that this is the most common reply to a very common question. Dull or not, is it tough to blame them? After all, mainstream country music is nearly as unbearable as glittery MTV pop music. That certainly does not mean that there are no quality artists in the genre to be found though. They just require a bit more looking than others.

With this in mind, it is entirely ironic that one of the best and most underrated country groups are not from the south. In fact, they are not even from the United States. Honestly, I did not know there was a thriving scene beyond the borders as well. As it turns out, Kent McAlister & The Iron Choir hail from East Vancouver, British Columbia. Canada? Yeah, I am just surprised as you are. While the country has largely been known for its gracious output of gloomy post-rock engineers and popular indie-rock acts like Arcade Fire and The Stills over the past few years, Canadian artists continue to prove that there is not one genre that is too foreign or intimidating for them to conquer. While Kent McAlister & The Iron Choir are the first of its kind I have heard from Canada, I remain optimistic that their stylistic bravery will push forward a new scene in their native country where music defined unrighteously as “Americana” or “country” will find a new following of fans and talented artists who think alike. However, before I go on any further, I should hold my tongue. With all this talk of country, it is clear that Kent McAlister & The Iron Choir are hardly the stereotypical classification of a country band. Despite it being their largest influence, vibes of folk and adult alternative are heavily prevalent throughout the majority of their songs.

For those who fall easily in love with the incorporation of poetic brilliance and captivating melody, it is also worth noting that Kent McAlister & The Iron Choir carry a heavy admiration for the works of Leonard Cohen. While you could easily look to their cover of Cohen’s great “Hey, That’s No Way to Say Goodbye” as an example, the respect demonstrated for the legendary songwriter throughout Kevin McAlister & The Iron Choir’s sophomore album, The Way It Rolls, is evident on more songs than one. Despite a variety of fantastic originals, the cover manages to be my favorite track on the album. The four-piece manages to incorporate contemporary aspects of production in “Hey, That’s No Way to Say Goodbye” without it sounding overproduced or desperate. While Cohen’s artistic nature has always led attempted covers to be a somewhat sensitive issue, it is gratifying that Kent McAlister & The Iron Choir are talented enough to showcase the original beauty of the song in an even more expansive form; it is the direct opposite of a disgraceful cover. With backing female vocals supplementing a variety of acoustical guitar progressions and hushed percussion, the relaying of Cohen’s classical tale involving lovers brought together by fate, struggling with the realization that even destiny is not flawless, is relayed just as beautifully. “I’m not looking for another as I wander in my time,” McAlister sings with a deep, tender hush, “Walk me to the corner, our steps will always rhyme.”

Regarding the other eight tracks (all originals) on The Way It Rolls, they are nearly as exceptional as “Hey, That’s No Way to Say Goodbye”. If you are a sucker for plucked acoustical arrangements, bursts of trumpets, and a country-folk feel, you should find instant satisfaction in “Old Bandolier”. Led by Tim Tweedale’s trumpet and McAlister’s deeply resonating vocals, the song maintains an innocent charm that takes solace in the simple, yet overlooked, aspects of life. “So when I get home tonight, you’ll have a steak done just right, and a long scratch behind those ears,” he begins, “My darling, my dear, bring my old banjo here.” The album’s self-titled track, “The Way It Rolls”, is a fun tune with distinct shades of rockabilly becoming a driving force With Craig McCaul’s bass corresponding faultlessly with Brendan Krieg’s drums, McAlister implements several impressive slide guitar techniques in a track that contains aspects of rich enjoyment, intuitiveness, and originality. With the latter part of the song evolving into a few Western-style guitar licks worthy of Pulp Fiction, the song also maintains enough diversity to be much more than a fun break in the album. The Way It Rolls, as a whole, is certainly an impressive effort.

One of the many reasons for the The Way It Rolls‘ high level of enjoyment can be significantly attributed to the group’s highly cultured influences. They prefer to linger in the past, longing for the folk and country sounds of the ’60s and ’70s. In fact, the band lists their main influence on their MySpace as “most Country Western Music prior to the 80s”; arguably a well-deserved slap in the face to the country genre of the past 20 years or so. A mixture of classic folk and/or country hardly ever goes wrong and the likes of Leonard Cohen, Hank Williams, and Johnny Cash have proven this sentiment decade after decade. Well-respected among Western Canadians for being one of the best bands to showcase a natively unconventional style, Kent McAlister & The Iron Choir have also been building up a fan base throughout North America. Previously sharing the stage with Magnolia Electric Co., The Tennessee Three (Johnny Cash’s former band), and Corb Lund, there is no doubt in my mind that the influences of such acts, among with many others past and past, have impacted the impressive stature of Kent McALISTER & The Iron Choir, a band destined to succeed. As startling as it may sound, the careers of these four talented gentleman are just beginning to bloom. - Obscure Sound - Article By Mike Mineo

"You Can Lead A Horse To Corpse-Flavoured Water"

I have no idea why a horse wouldn’t drink from a well. But when Kent McAlister sings of an incident that resulted in just such a phenomenon in “The Cane & The Switch,” I can tell by the way his Iron Choir lays down the line — all cryptic, with a haunting fiddle splitting through the wail of the electric guitar — that something sinister is behind the occurrence.

“That one is actually based on a story my dad told me,” McAlister explains over the phone from his part-time home base in Vancouver. “I can’t remember the community, but somewhere near where he grew up in Saskatchewan, there was a particular story about this woman who had an abusive husband. It was obvious what was going on. One day he just went missing and I guess nobody really gave it much thought, they just figured he’d taken off or something.

“A week or two went by and they found when they were drawing water out of the well to give to the horses, the horses wouldn’t drink it. So somebody, I don’t know who, went down into the well to check it out. And they found the body of said abusive husband down there. What had happened was she had actually murdered him and dumped him down there. I don’t think it ever went to the RCMP or anything.”

Being the balladeer that he is, McAlister can sure tell a good tale when he hears one, and that’s just one of the stories that weave themselves onto the band’s third effort, How I’ll Remain. Laced with glistening Spanish horns, a little freight-train rhythm, some slippery lap steel, and a wee bit of banjo-pickin’, Remain is altogether one bona fide country album.

However, for an Alberta boy whose guitar weeps with bad luck songs, McAlister didn’t always like country music. “I never enjoyed it from the time I can remember getting my first radio when I was four,” he says matter-of-factly. That changed when he heard Johnny Cash’s “Tennessee Flat Top Box” on the car radio. In that moment he realized not all country music was bad, and suddenly, at age eight, he was fascinated with the classics: Cash, Willie Nelson, Hank Williams.

When McAlister was growing up, though, Cash wasn’t quite as cool among high-schoolers — where Kurt Cobain held sway — as he is today. “I’m going off on my old man memories,” he continues. “But I remember when I was 18 sitting in a certain pub that will not be named, in Calgary — I was actually 17 — but anyway. They had The Best of Johnny Cash on the jukebox, so I’d order myself a beer and put the entire record on and just sit there and listen to it. I remember one day actually looking up and I swear everybody in the place intentionally gave me a dirty look for putting Johnny Cash on. So thank goodness he’s now okay again.”

Cash resurgence or no Cash resurgence, if McAlister had the balls to commandeer a jukebox for an hour at a time when grunge was king, it’s likely that he’ll keep walking that country line no matter what, picking that guitar, and telling more grim, corpse-strewn tales to anyone morbid enough to listen. - SEE Weekly Edmonton - Article by Kathleen Bell

"How I'll remain: Kent McAlister discusses his latest record"

Kent McAlister has been leading his band—originally called His Band, but for the last few years known officially as the Iron Choir—through three albums and two provinces now, and he's shown increasing focus and confidence with each release. Where there were hints of the same sort of country that Corb Lund grew up with on McAlister's debut, he has since carved his own sound out, fusing together the jazz guitar playing of his music-school years with the music of his prairie roots. McAlister's latest album is titled How I'll Remain and he spoke to Vue Weekly recently about the record.

VUE WEEKLY: How long did it take to make How I’ll Remain, from the initial songwriting through to the end of the recording?

KENT MCALISTER: About 10 months in total, which is the quickest I've ever put a record together. I started writing for it in August of 2008, and we started recording in late April of 2009.

VW: When you were writing the songs, did you come at them in a particular way: lyrics first? Music first?

KM: A little of both I suppose; I had subject matter I wanted to write about and I brainstormed words and phrases surrounding those with no definite musical connection—I like to find the rhythm and feel of the words on their own. Meanwhile, I would be recording structural ideas (riffs, chord progressions, etc.) on my guitar either into my tape recorder if I wasn't at home, or into GarageBand on my trusty mac (named Zeus). I always find the best ideas come when you're not trying to think about it, and that held true this time as well. In September of last year, we took a much-needed break from a touring and so I took my first dayjob in a long while. I was a courier and while driving around Calgary, I would leave the radio off and carry a tape recorder and guitar in my van. Inevitably, lyrical ideas or music would come to me while driving, and so I could hum into the tape recorder and or pull over and play my guitar into it. The song "Crossing Arm Blues" is a direct result of being stuck at a specific train crossing on busy days and feeling frusterated because my delivery time-limit was ticking away. I just developed the story about this character who was in the same predicament. I've always wanted to write an "anti-train" song because it seems to me more interesting—especially as a roots/country musician—to explore it from this perspective instead of romanticizing it. The character in that song is fictional but the experiences are based on actual events that have happened to people I've known over the years.

VW: Do you bring the songs to the band fully formed, or are they sketches that are then filled out as a group?

KM: Up until this recording, I've always had the songs 90 percent or more arranged and ready to go. I like to then let the guys fill in the spaces, or bring musical ideas to the table that I might not have thought of. I've always been lucky enough to play with stellar bandmates, past and present, and I'm always open to suggestions from them. I also believe it's important for them to be able to add their personality within the context of the music. With this record, there was a lot more input in that two of the songs were largely incomplete until I brought them to rehearsal. "Crossing Arm Blues" was re-tooled lyrically right up until I was in the isolation booth recording it—with thanks to Melisa Devost whom I totally forgot to credit with a couple of lyrical ideas for that one—and "The Ballad of the Oar & Chain" was arranged musically but two of the verses and the chorus were finished the night before we recorded. The final piece to putting its lyrics together was opening up my notes on it and then looking at a very old painting in my then roommate Cameron Latimer's house—it was of sailing ships on a mediterranean seaside in the sunset which perfectly captured a calm but ominous mood. I thank Cameron for not only having that painting up but also for musical inspiration over the years.

VW: This time out your drummer Brendan Krieg contributed a couple of songs. Was it difficult to share the writing, or is that something that you look for from the band?

KM: I've never expected it from the band, and this seemed to be a natural evolution in the group. It wasn't difficult because the first time Brendan played "Down & Out" was after a gig over the Christmas break when the guys came from Vancouver to Calgary to play a few dates. We were all in a hotel room after a show and passing my guitar around. Krieg busted out this song and I was blown away and asked him whose it was. "Mine," he said humbly. We were all surprised and it seemed natural to learn it and include it. "Another Bridge" came about one night while I was in Vancouver for a weekend and staying at Brendan's place. We were catching up in the midst of a small gathering. Our significant others were there and Del Cowsill (of the Dustin Bentall Outfit, and son of the late Billy Cowsill) was on fire as usual, cracking everyone up. After about 10-too-many beers between all of us, Brendan played his home demo of "Bridge" and again I was stoked on it. I actually thought it was an old Meters song at first. I think as the beers continued to progress and I had him play it a few more times we both agreed that it was the greatest song mankind would ever know and should be sent into space in another Voyager mission. Of course, we've both since changed our opinion and just think it's a fine tune that we hope fans will enjoy.

VW: You produced your first record on your own, but you’ve now worked with Jesse Gander twice. What is it that brought you back to him for this album?

KM: I can't say enough good things about Jesse Gander. His skill in the studio is incredible, not only from a technical standpoint in knowledge of the equipment and recording techniques, but also for his ears and his input into shaping the sound and feel of a song. He's also a very genuine, humble and down-to-earth guy and it's easy to see why he's so well-liked by so many musicians and otherwise in Vancouver. I think his forte is producing punk and indie-rock masterpieces, but I was impressed by his broad musical palette—he could sit down with me and talk about the production on old and somewhat obscure Willie Nelson recordings, for example. I also hold him in the highest regard as I found out that he holds the record for smuggling the most musicians in the back of a cube van onto a ferry just to help keep the cost of touring down by avoiding the gouging at the ticket booth. (This was definitely overseas, just in case someone from that ferry corporation on BC's coast happens to read this and think either of us would pull a stunt like that here, what with the affordable and fair pricing they provide. Also, the food is just top-notch, but I digress ... )

VW: Looking back, your second album seems like a transitional record between the first and this one, with the lineup shifting somewhat throughout the record. In contrast, How I’ll Remain features one lineup throughout. Did that consistency affect the recording of the album?

KM: Yes. it feels a little more "focused" to me, although I don't find the lineup and studio juggling that occured on our second album to be too glaring that it bothers me. Still, I think this is our best-sounding record to date from a production point of view. I am thoroughly enjoying playing with my old music school college mate and new steel player Chris Herbst. He's a monster and brings a whole new colour and texture to the group. We also brought in another ex-classmate of mine from the music program in Nanaimo to play bass. Jim Bennett is as solid as it gets and really stepped in well to hold down the bass duties on the record.

VW: You’ve been playing with most of these guys for some time now. Have you noticed a change in the chemistry the longer you play together?

KM: Definitely. It always becomes easier to anticipate each other and relax when we're playing live. I love that feeling when we get better and better and those "connected" musical moments happen. By also experiencing the high amount of kilometres and hours that we have in the van with our respective iPods running through the stereo, it's also easier to get some insight into where each person is coming from in terms of musical taste and influence. We're all pretty similar in that we enjoy listening to a diversity of genres. Having said all that, we're still in a bit of transition while we try to lock down a new bass player. Craig McCaul has been with the band since the beginning, but is working more and more on his own band (Propolis) as well as a few others. He's a guitar player by trade—and a mind-blowing one at that—who just happened to get wrangled into playing bass with me. In fact that's why he can be heard playing guitar on this record instead of bass. It's been fun watching the reactions of friends in the past few years who asked him to play bass on their projects and then happened to see him casually pick up an extra guitar and shred the shit out of it. He's been playing our latest tours while we try and find a bass player that can commit and has no problem jumping aboard our busy schedule and travelling with us for weeks and months at a time. I'm totally supportive of Craig, but we'll all eventually miss him. He's an incredible musical force and a source of calm level and "grounded-ness" for us all. He's now one of the most in-demand guitarists in Vancouver and is getting alot of work as such.

VW: Were there any other songs written that were left off the album?

KM: Yes. Four songs that I just didn't feel were ready or that I wasn't completely convinced with: one about my first rifle and my first guitar, one about my uncle who was a farmer and died pretty tragically a few years ago, one about a particularly ornary horse that I was riding who tried to buck me when we were in the middle of nowhere Alberta, miles from any other people or help and one about a pretty devastating betrayal last year by someone I considered a close friend and brother. I felt the latter was a little too "weighty" and had already been summed up succinctly in the song "What Is This Evil?" I expect the three former songs will make an appearance on a future recording.

VW: How did you decide which songs to include on the album? Did you have an idea of what you wanted How I’ll Remain to be when you started, or did the finished shape emerge as the writing and recording went along?

KM: I definitely wanted it to be a little darker than the last record in the overall feel. I had an idea about themes and topics for songs, but that certainly took on a life of it's own as I started developing them. Being able to shut off my brain and let the songs come to me, rather than chasing them by forcing myself to write is always paramount. Whenever I'm focused on something else—like driving around town or something as simple as walking somewhere and taking in the scenery—that's when inspiration hits and that's when it's important to make sure I've got a pen and paper and a small recorder with me. I think I accomplished what I set out to do with it when I started thinking about what I wanted to create late last year, but it's nice to have those unexpected things occur like the two songs from Brendan that happen to fit with the feel and flow.

VW: Why did you decide to revisit the song “Memory Replacer” on this album?

KM: I was never happy with the final mix of that song as it appeared on the first record. Suffice it to say, creative decisions were made without me or any of the band on that first recording, and I always regretted not having certain elements of the intended arrangement on that song. It's been bothering me for five years, and that first record never really got a proper release anyway. I now feel much better having it sound like I intended it to. I am also proud of that song and it has always illicited a positive audience reaction when we play it live, so I felt it deserved another shot. It's also a bit of comic relief in the middle of a somewhat dark country album, but still fits with the thematic elements of loss and retrospect. It was interesting to see how fiercely we all felt about that song in the studio. We spent the most time discussing harmonies and production aspects than any other song. We actually ended up with two great Vancouver vocalists providing the female voices—Savannah Leigh handles the vocal harmonies and Melisa Devost handles the"oohs" in the spoken part.

VW: If you were to trace the musical map that led you to How I’ll Remain, what would it look like?

KM: I think it comes from having a genuine interest and passion for all types of music, really. I've come to realize that's the most important thing: having a diverse pallette. The map would start somewhere when I was about 14 and realized I hated commercial pop radio. This was around 1990 and I discovered things like college radio and the local oldies station. It progressed into going to local shows in Calgary and Edmonton through my teens and voraciously snapping up everything I could that was independent or old. A shout out to Edmonton in particular—I never understood the appeal of Nirvana, and that's because I had Edmonton legends the smalls as the soundtrack of my youth. They were way more mind-blowing than anything the whole "grunge" scene produced. By the time I was 18, everyone was spilling over each other and arguing for street cred by saying that "They had gotten into Nirvana way before everyone else," etc. etc. and I was in my corner saying, "Uh ... anybody want to check out this Johnny Cash with me? How about Pink Floyd's second album? Errrr ... the smalls, anyone?" and getting laughed at for it. Nevertheless, I have no idea if I'm answering this question correctly, but my point is it that How I'll Remain—and the first two records, for that matter—are inspired by making music what it should be: art. I think that people have forgotten that even if you're playing country or roots or whatever you want to call it, it's about being artistic. I'd much rather take chances musically than trying my damndest to write a hit and be famous and base my self-worth on whether or not some industry pig in Nashville thinks I'm star worthy and I need to wax my eyebrows and take steroids and get the tips of my hair frosted and wear "previously-distressed" jeans. Having said that, I really hope Nashville's is the next hockey franchise to go belly-up. Bring the NHL teams back to Canada, Bettman. Phew. Musical map what-now?

VW: What was it about Amy Honey's "Pioneer Woman" that made you decide to cover the song? Is it necessary to get yourself into a different headspace when you sing from a female perspective? Is it similar to assuming the role of any other character in a song?

KM: I'm a huge fan of Amy Honey. I didn't realize she was a musician when she gave me my first solo gig in Vancouver seven years ago. I remember seeing her one night at the Railway club shortly after that and she busted out "Pioneer Woman"—solo—in her set. I thought it was genius, especially in her version which includes a metal breakdown in the middle. Nevertheless, I don't even remember the bands playing that night because she completely blew them off the stage—just a girl and her guitar and a stomp box. I've since watched her do that over and over: completely steal the show, all on her own. In a way it's a tribute to her and it's also indicative of a project I've been trying to put together for about five years now, and that is to do a record of cover songs by my musical peers. Nevertheless, you hit it bang on in that it indeed took a little bit of getting into character. I've never "played" a woman before, but have always thought it interesting to hear a male sing a song written from a woman's perspective, and vice versa. It works out that the song ends up being a nice set-up for the story in the song directly following it, which is "The Cane & the Switch." "Switch" came about after my Dad told me a story from his childhood about a rural community in Saskatchewan where a woman had an abusive husband, and it was obvious to everyone. Eventually, no one saw him around and figured he'd up and left her. Around the same time, the horses on a particular farm started refusing to drink the water that was drawn from the well, so someone had to lower themselves in to see what was the matter, and that's when the body of this abuser was discovered down there. Everyone knew it was the wife, but it was an example of the community policing itself, so they figured he had gotten what was coming to him and didn't report it to the police. I figured that story fit with my mandate of a darker-themed record and, in a way, fits nicely with Amy's song—or not, depending on what the listener wants to take from them.

VW: Is there anything else you’d like to say about the album or the making of it?

KM: Just a big, big thank you to Rawlco Radio for believing in me and funding the thing. I promised them last year I'd try to make a more "folk-y" record to fit with their programming, and not make it too "Country-ish" sounding. Oops. I hope they still dig it. I think there are definitely some huge elements of folk there, and besides, the term has become so loose nowadays. V - VUE Weekly Edmonton - Article by Eden Munro


- How I’ll Remain (2009)
- The Way It Rolls (2007)
- Memory Replacer (2005)



- Vocalist and Guitarist Kent McAlister originally hails from Calgary, AB but has made Vancouver his home for the better part of 15 years. McAlister has a hard-earned reputation for delivering cleverly-arranged and truly unique Roots music.

- McAlister started touring as a solo artist in 2001, and caught the attention of Western Canadian Roots star Corb Lund. After being asked by Lund to open a number of shows as a solo performer in 2004, McAlister and The Iron Choir ultimately joined Lund again on the road a few years later for a multi-date Western Canadian tour.

- Kent McAlister & The Iron Choir have been arguably the busiest Roots outfit to come out of Vancouver, having completed over 350-plus shows nation-wide since 2005. These include sold out shows in Vancouver (Vancouver East Cultural Centre), Calgary (The Ironwood Stage) and Toronto (The Dakota Tavern) as well as several prime-time festival spots in Western Canada.

- In 2006, Kent McAlister opened sold-out shows for Fred Eaglesmith, The Tennessee Three, and Magnolia Electric Company.

- The band won a first place prize of $2500 in Rawlco Radio’s Battle of The Bands in Calgary, AB.

- All three albums - released independently by McAlister - have debuted in the top ten college and campus roots charts across Canada, reaching as high as #3. In 2008, the sophomore album stayed in the top ten high rotation albums for three straight months on satellite radio’s Roots channel.