Old Reliable
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Old Reliable

North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
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This album is a year old in their native Alberta, but Old Reliable’s records are perpetually underrated, never dated. Their 2001 album The Gradual Moment was a study in personal grief for Mark Davis, where his co-bandleader Shuyler Jansen relinquished songwriting duties to allow Davis to work through the death of his spouse. Now, it’s Jansen stepping to the forefront, and he peers into just as many creepy crevices. The music isn’t all minor keys, but that’s when it excels, especially when they slip into waltz time, sing in stately tenor harmony, and invite violinist Shannon Johnson to put a few more tears in your beer. The fuzzed out Crazy Horse guitars come crashing in at all the right moments; these songs should be experienced at volumes too loud for most folk festivals. Jansen sings about yearning to “leave these Alberta blues behind.” For our sake, let’s hope they never do. - Exclaim Magazine


Trying to describe the musical evolution of nine-year-old Edmonton band Old Reliable reminds one of the proverb about the blind men and the elephant. Listen to the fiddle-tinged notes of "Must Have Been the Devil" and one cries country. When the Highway 61 Revisited type-organ slaps against lines like "I’m giving you 16 hours and a packet of Lucky Strikes/ To get yourself out of here, forget about them longin’ nights" in "Lightning Fast," one would swear this was a singer-songwriter deal. The chugging thump of "Tight Knit Seams" growls hard rock, the synthy psychedelic sting of "Catch That River" swears art rock, and the metal-edged flowing throb of "Silver Rain/Landpulse" grinds out the whole issue like a cigarette under a boot heel.

Trouble is, by the time one listens to these songs from the band’s 2002 album Pulse of Light/Dark Landscape on the heels of 2001’s sombre The Gradual Moment (which was written as guitarist Mark Davis’s spouse died of cancer), and 1999’s simple, folky Gone Are The Days, the blind men have had a chance to palpitate their way through a whole zoo. Singer-guitarist Shuyler Jansen attributes the band’s dense and diverse sound through which lyrics pass with the clarity of Pulitzer Prize-winning novels to a mixture of life and dreams that are re-alchemized by every person who lays their heart and hands upon the band.

"The idea of story songs has been around forever, but it also comes from the kind of songwriters I listen to," the father of a four-month-old daughter says, citing Townes van Zandt and Steve Earle as two of the obvious ones. "At the same time, stories come from experience and the ability to turn it into a song. ‘Lightning Fast’ was me observing two people who were going out, and trying to tell both sides of their story when they were breaking up. ‘Show Me to the Bar’ was actually about the same couple. They were around me all the time so I began to document their misery, I guess. Obviously I can relate to that – I’ve gone through the same thing but I wasn’t clear headed at the time I was going through that kind of stuff."

And while the band has earned its standing-room-only following over nine years of revolving players and gigs where the only people in the room were paid to be there, Jansen has no intention of breaking the band’s spirit in pursuit of fame. "If I have any dreams, it’s to make records. Going out playing night after night, winning people that way, there’s so many great bands in the world that if you want us to come and play, just ask us. I’m not going to show up in your town and bang out 20 songs and hope the one guy there will spread the word. I’ve done that. It’s not that I won’t do it again, but as far as that dream, the evolution of the dream is from the total adolescent dream of stardom into just wanting to be playing and recording."

To that end Jansen is wrapping up a solo album, getting the band ready to record their fourth album in June with Calgarian Dave Alcock as a co-producer, and negotiating a tour in the Netherlands. But when your band is the sonic equivalent of Adonis, why go solo?

"Well, it’s important that we go and do other stuff with other people because you learn so much. Edmonton’s chock full of great musicians and great musical collaborators and if we didn’t work with them I don’t think we have learned half the stuff we accomplished," he says, adding that he named the band when he was younger, spoofing the older members of Edmonton’s scene, like former members of Junior Gone Wild, who were playing with him at that time.

Another reason for a solo album is the fact that he and other band members have already written about four more albums worth of material. And while they spent a paltry $3,000 recording their last CD, they also like to pay attention to details. The bed tracks were recorded in two days, but they sent the tapes to Toronto’s Peter J. Moore, who re-mastered The Band’s material and recorded the Cowboy Junkies’ The Trinity Sessions. The stark cover photography is instantly recognizable as the work of Elliot Landy, who photographed Dylan and The Band at Woodstock.

After the darkness of what Jansen refers to as the four-month wake while recording The Gradual Moment, some of the bliss music brings might have drained out the back door of a lesser band. Not so with Old Reliable.

"We as a band after that experience weren’t dwelling on anything – it was reality at the time. Even more now, though we’re all sort of content not dwelling on that stuff. It might come out in the music but as people we’re all pretty easygoing, maybe pessimistic but we don’t walk around with a big cloud over our heads or anything because we had to for a while."
- FFWD Magazine


Have you ever been pigeonholed? Has anyone ever tried to make you stand in shoes that weren't yours? Have you ever tried to make yourself something you're not?

Well, in a recent interview with the Gauntlet, Shuyler Jansen, vocalist and guitar player for the veteran Alberta band Old Reliable, refused to wear the hat I gave him. He just wasn't having anything to do with my line of questioning.

Jansen's answers all stressed one thing: independence. Jansen's his own man, Old Reliable's their own band and they make the music they want because it's what they're into. And damn it they like it.

When asked about Old Reliable's traditional country sound, Jansen refused to fit into that slot.

"The lyrical and melodic content of our songs is true to the traditional form of folk, country, bluegrass, blues and R&B," he said. "Other than that our backdrop is undefined. Someone like Billy Joe Shaver or Willie Nelson was born with 'that' sound. We just sound like us."

When pressed further about Old Reliable's musical traditions, all Jansen had to say was "I traditionally don't answer more than one question about tradition."

I asked Jansen if Old Reliable was trying to carry on the chain of country and roots music at a time when those more traditional forms of music seem to be disappearing into the popular mainstream, but in Jansen's opinion these musical forms aren't going anywhere, they're just not in the spotlight.

"Genuine country music can be compared with the state of jazz," he said. "Good jazz or country has never gone away, it just slips in and out of fashion. The people that love jazz or whatever genre will seek out the art during its most unpopular moments. The important thing is to carry on the quest for good songwriting, singing, soul and melody.

"The mainstream is lacking all of these currently."

Old Reliable doesn't make music to carry on a tradition, and they don't make music for the money either. When asked about the financial difficulties faced by an Alberta band and the stresses of trying to make music while you still have jobs outside of the band, Jansen said it's about the music, not the money.

"True musical minds--musicians, fans of music, etc.--will usually stray away from the [idea of getting rich]," he said. "If one thinks that Celtic music is lucrative and one decides to start a Celtic band, by the time one gets their shit together the lucrative market has crashed and burned. I think following trends is the death of music.

"Have you ever watched Wired on A-Channel? [That's] a perfect example. All the bands sound like whatever band was popular three years ago. [Old Reliable] has been cool and uncool in the 10 years we have been a band. We make music because having someone loathe us is as gratifying as having someone love us."

Old Reliable isn't in it for the tradition, they're not after money (at least not a whole lot of it) and they certainly don't care about being trendy. On the eve of the release of their fourth album, Old Reliable's goals and hopes are fairly simple. Where do they want to go?

"Into the hands of every willing, intelligent ear that has the ability to purchase our albums and feel the emotion," Jansen says. "And also to Europe."

He also said he wouldn't mind being able to purchase a "fine vehicle" one day.

I may not be able to classify Old Reliable's music as traditional country anymore, but I do classify it as damn good. So if you're planning on sitting BSD out this year, you might want to check them out.
- Gauntlet



Break out the streamers, the novelty hats and don’t forget the hooch: Old Reliable—otherwise known as Shuyler Jansen, Mark Davis, Shawn Jonasson, Tom Murray and Scott Lingley—is celebrating ten years on the Edmonton alt-country scene.

After a decade together, co-founder Jansen is pleased with what Old Reliable has been able to accomplish.

“I am proud that we have made four albums, and I know we have a couple more in us. Longevity is the thing that I am most satisfied with.”

Over the years, Old Reliable has lived up to its name, and not only with solid recordings and performances.

As Jansen tells it, his band will always make it to a gig, come hell or high water or attacking rabid

raccoons.

“Once, a raccoon in Ontario bit Tom, and his right hand got so infected that he had to play bass by smacking the strings with bottle caps we taped to his thumb,” Jansen recalls.

And Old Reliable, Jansen figures, will continue to be the sort of band music lovers can count on. Even through the band’s matured and the group members have been busy pursuing various side projects, Old Reliable is far from becoming stale. They’re still just too busy enjoying making music together, though, Jansen remarks, after ten years things are bound to change a bit.

“The process is much different now. There are realities of what we can do as a unit, and sometimes we limit each other. But sometimes we drive one another to a fresh place. It’s a moody experience, not as carefree and wild as it used to be. But that is not necessarily as negative as it sounds,” he says.

That might explain how simple it was for Jansen and bandmate Jonasson to complete solo projects. Jonasson’s other band, The Swiftys, released a self-titled album last year, and Jansen’s new record, Hobotron, hit shelves earlier this week.

Though the album’s title might suggest Jansen’s more interested in manufacturing some sort of maniacal homeless robot than penning songs, he clarifies that Hobotron is a metaphor for his CD’s musical style.

“Initially the title was a running joke in the studio and at home. When people asked me what I was up to, I started telling them I was making a concept record about a hobo who finds a laptop and how it changes him. Now, I think it’s more of a metaphor for old-fashioned values merging with technology.”

Hobotron’s ramblin’ country-folk songs are filled with backgrounds of old synths, guitar pedals and what Jansen refers to as “crazy noises” that reflect his ability to fuse the traditional with the modern.

But don’t call Hobotron, or anything else, for that matter, “alt-country.” Jansen refuses to indulge in the industry’s tendency to lump artists into concrete genres.

“I would prefer to just do my own thing and be known as a good songwriter and singer. Genre is non-existent to people who buy and listen to music intensely. Good music is good music.”

And hopefully Edmonton audiences can rely on Old Reliable to give them just that—good music—for many years to come.
- Gateway


Most people who fall in love with musicians would be flattered if an album was dedicated to them. Sadly, the girlfriend of Old Reliable's Mark Davis isn't able to hear this album's worth of songs written about their relationship and her death from breast cancer two years ago. Davis's gesture and commitment are admirable enough, but The Gradual Moment is much more than a morbid personal memento. The second album by this Edmonton quartet is a glorious life-affirming musical and lyrical statement, perfectly captured by engineer Scott Franchuk. They get some help from all of Giant Sand on one of the strongest tracks, "Heaven's Train," while plenty of fellow Edmontonians pitch in for the cause. Co-front-man Shuyler Jansen graciously takes a back seat, leaving Davis to ably steer the ship by himself. One of Canada's brightest alt-country bands offers proof that the deeply personal can be magically universal. - Exclaim


Haunted by the ghosts of the now defunct Son Volt and Whiskeytown, Edmonton’s Old Reliable also pay their respects to Johnny Cash’s “I Walk The Line” (“Must Have Been The Devil” and the instrumental “Pulse of Light”) and to Neil Young’s fuzzy reverb guitar style (on “Darkscape/From Wishing”).

Lead vocalist Shuyler Jansen’s plaintive style is somewhat reminiscent of Whiskeytown’s Ryan Adams (“New York, New York”) before his solo rock star trip and shines on cuts like the hauntingly melodic “Lightning Fast”, “Catch That River” (great harmonies) and the organ propelled “In The Clover”.

Pulse of Light Dark Landscape (their third CD) is a wealth of intelligent lyrics, unexpected aural textures and inspired arrangements. It should also be noted that guitarist Shawn “Swifty” Jonasson is a former Dauphin resident who will be bringing the whole band home to meet the folks when they perform at Dauphin’s Countryfest on the alternative stage at the end of this month. - Winnipeg Free Press


Steady like a rock, but not old

Your worst day ever would go something like this: getting dumped by the love of your life. Take the dog for a walk to ease the pain. Somehow, he slips away and gets run over by a truck. Jump on a horse, you know, just to get away from it all. But the horse breaks his leg by tripping on a gopher hole, so you need to shoot him with your trusty rifle. Well, darn good thing you have Jesus and your cowboy boots.
Oh, country music--the pain and agony of it all. Or so goes the stereotype and much of the mainstream country music. The alt-country band, Old Reliable, disagrees with what people assume is the true meaning of country music. "I want [people] to realize that country music is changing, that it's not just what you see on CMT. It's so much more than that," says frontman Schuyler Jansen.
Old Reliable formed about 10 years ago in a place called Edmonton. Their sound may be characterized as alt-country, but Jansen sees their music becoming more rockier than country. Their most recent and fourth album, has strong Calgary ties, recorded here by Sundae Sound. The planned CD release will be a dance party complete with barbecue, reasonably priced drinks and other acts such as The Swiftys and The D. Rangers. Old Reliable having perfected their sound for the aforementioned 10 years and Shuyler himself has written songs since 13, the band's ready to release their new album."That first year I wrote hundreds of songs, you know, but they're all crap," he recalls of the songbooks he's kept all these years. [But] lyrics are really important to me and Mark, and we keep getting better at it."No dead dogs in these lyrics, as Jansen strives for honesty in his attempt to dispel the cowboy myth. "A lot of people just think it's supposed to be sentimental and ballady and cowboys hats and stuff, but it's really just about living free, and trying to live an honest life. At the same time there's a real positive and hopeful resolution to all of that it's not always a bleak ending," he says of the darkness, yet again proving there's more to country than people think. "The cool thing about roots music in general or folk is you can add any element to it. Metal influence or reggae. There's lots of elements you can put into a country song," Jansen explains. "Like the Sadies are really quite psychedelic and surfie, so between us and all the other great bands in the states and Canada that are doing their own interpretation on it, its just creating a new era." The constantly changing sound of country and Old Reliable shouldn't be underestimated. The addition of a new drummer to the band, Mike Silverman, adds yet another element to their ever-changing sound. "That's the ultimate goal, we just really like records and putting them out and moving forward musically." So stop crying about your dog, he's dead. Old Reliable says it's so
- The Gauntlet


Relying on Old Reliable
Creating sounds, not just music, permeates each track, each member

If you’ve ever tasted the dusty fruit of old-style country music then you know it’s easy to get hooked. The deep earthy music replete with joyful sorrow might be the last bastion of truly raw music not filtered by commercial popularity. You can hear this approach to storytelling in the voices of Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, Bill Monroe, and Merle Haggard, to name a few. Western Canada’s indie staple Old Reliable is the kind of country band that propels country music many years into the future, mining for gold with other genres including rock n’ roll, bluegrass and electronica. Don’t confuse this with Top 40 New Country. Old Reliable dishes out a completely different meal; theirs is something addictive, like spicy food. Using sound(s) rather than just musical notes they create soundscapes for each track, not just simple three-cord progressions. “We always seem to make one big sound at the end of the day,” wrote Shuyler Jansen from his home on the south side of Edmonton. “I think that we choose a lot of sounds on the fly, but the parts that each individual has composed mesh well with the overall sound; this particular album has some of the finest vintage inventions of the electric age, Hammonds, Leslies, old amps, several rare guitars, old tape machine and pre amps, old mics, I personally try and emulate the sound of natural disasters!” The sound of “natural disasters” is easy to hear throughout Old Reliable’s latest release, the burning truth. The album has a hard edge most country music does not have – tons of distortion for one, and some wickedly groovy hooks. Perhaps the word “groovy” seems out of place, but it is not. Old Reliable make country music intimately accessible. Their lyrics are filled with the dark standards that country music was recognized for in the past, not the softened pop found on the various country music stations these days. Track 7, ‘standing on the earth tonight’ starts off with sounds reminiscent of bottles being tapped by a metal rod – a wonderful way to start such a desperate-sounding track. Old Reliable’s ambient sounds truly set them apart from other country-influenced bands, although Jansen is the first to admit their influences are all the same, “at least the good stuff. I have listened intently to Country for years and now I have turned away and listen to Rock and Bluegrass and weird whatever.” You can hear the music rise from the dusty floor and rip through you like a drunken wild man in an old saloon. It’s an absolutely different experience than anything you might think you’re going to get when you buy a country album - or rock album for that matter. It would be easy to lump Old Reliable into some kind of genre or another – country, rock, bluegrass, etc. but that wouldn’t even scratch the surface. For a bunch of relatively young guys, who have been playing the indie scene for over a decade, country music doesn’t seem like the most modern of music to pick when starting a band. That might be the case, but Jansen believes that somehow, “…real songwriting and that giant deep dark wave of sound got kicked out of the country mainstream sometime in the mid 70s, minus Dwight and Lyle and Steve Earle who brought along a brief mainstream resurgence in the 80s. “I was raised on Waylon and Willie and Neil Young, The Band, The Who, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and even The Clash, my father was an obsessed LP buyer for a long time and educated me well throughout the transitions of Rockabilly, through Psychedelic through Outlaw, Punk etc. Pretty much everything that came out of Reg Jansen’s (my dad) mouth was true and same goes for Shawn’s dad and Mark and his Bro and Tom, Mike's Dad, we have all been exposed to the finer points of music, I feel very lucky for that. I take Willie and all the great country songwriters very literally and seriously, I think a lot of people play the genre for novelty and we don’t.”
- Scene and Heard


The Truth and Old Reliable

Shuyler Jansen gophers up last from the tight basement of the 100-year-old house Old Reliable have bargained their practices into. He looks more like an interstate trucker than ever, but in this topography of feedback-fuzzy country rock, that’s better than sweating out the air of a responsible dad — which it turns out he actually is, even putting his new baby girl on gig posters around faraway Ontario during an “educational” solo tour. Maybe so he’d see her occasionally on strange streets that way. “Being on the road is way harder now,” he says. “Just emotionally.” Old Reliable recently turned ten on the stage of Edmonton’s practically TM’d “greatest live venue” — an annual indoor bush party — as always enjoying a packed house of seriously beautiful girls in rural dresses spinning non-ironic loops while real country bars across town play Kid Rock duets. It seems a strange thing to celebrate your band’s age so publicly.” Because people can make fun of you?” Jansen smiles. “Whatever. We don’t play that often, so we like to have a reason when we do. Four of us are Scorpios and the band started on my birthday, so we celebrate it all in one. Not to sound too callous, but it’s a good angle.” If you think of music ten years back, one of the latter things to pop up is country, even in Alberta. Jansen explains the band’s inception: “Edmonton’s the only city I know where the metal guys hang out with the country and jazz guys. You get a lot of second chances here. It started from the ashes of the Naked and the Dead. Mike [Silverman, drums] and I were practising as a two-piece and Mark [Davis, vocals, guitar] had been writing some songs, so we offered to back him up. Scott Lingley joined us after Mike left — he just wanted to get the fuck away from us at that point. It’s not that we weren’t being productive, we were just a bunch of drunken assholes. “I kinda liked it back then. There wasn’t a lot going on in Alberta with the whole electric country thing. It was basically Corb [Lund] and us playing sorta cute little gigs in these weird little places. It took us five or six years to make our first record.” Old Reliable’s productivity since isn’t bad: four solid albums. The latest of which, The Burning Truth, is a return to “your move” form after each of their two vocalists enjoyed mic-exclusivity on each of the last two albums. Both those discs were tremendous works: The Gradual Moment, about how the death of his girlfriend made singer Davis feel (with help from Howe Gelb); Shuyler’s Pulse of Light/Dark Landscape finally nailed down the floor-polishing hits we’d been craving for years. And new songs are already evolving in the musty basement. Walking along the same picket fence as Corb Lund’s outfit, a decade has made OR this city’s primo country band, a tremendous elemental mix of Sonic Youth, Gordon Lightfoot, Bill Monroe and whatever music smarter chickens might peck into the dirt if they weren’t so busy playing tic-tac-toe over at the AgriCom. It’s a time of great upheaval for the band. After nine years, Lingley was vaporised to bring founder Silverman back in time for SXSW. But there is a greater phase shift. Because both Jansen and keyboardist Shawn Jonasson (also lead singer of the Swiftys) have young babies, as Shuyler puts it, “it’s definitely shit or get off the pot at this point. We’ve always maintained making music is the main thing, even before Swifty joined. Now that we’re chasing the dollar a bit more… it kinda sucks in a way. You do the odd thing for money because you need it. “I used to get the horror stories from my family, jokes about writing the ‘Legend of the Chevy Farm’ commercial. But after seeing a million great bands playing at SXSW, it makes me want to get out and play even more. No matter what happens.”
- Exclaim


EDMONTON'S Old Reliable have been walking the country-rock tightrope for 10 years, steadfastly resisting attempts to stick them in either camp. So let's just call their latest release, The Burning Truth, a rock 'n' roll album with country flourishes and avoid raising their ire. "The Burning Truth was recorded with our old drummer, a rock drummer," explains singer-guitarist Shuyler Jansen. "The band evolved because of him and the fact that we were playing bars, where you have to play loud to get attention. "Our new drummer, Mike Silverman, is more versatile, and ultimately that's what we wanted. We want to be able to do a dark and spooky and quiet song with mallets and brushes, then a four-on-the-floor AC/DC thing. We want to be able to do it all." With its big drums, keyboards and harder-edged guitars, I want to call The Burning Truth rock, but there's something undeniably country about their sound, not to mention the dark and lonely lyrics. "Two things I always keep in mind are that there is no one way to write a song, and to be totally honest when you're writing words," says Jansen. "I think if you're willing to look deep inside yourself and write about things that aren't necessarily pleasant, you'll never have writer's block." Another reason the band has lasted so long is that three of its five members have side projects -- Jansen's Hobotron, fellow singer-guitarist Mark Davis' Young Bucks and guitarist Shawn Jonasson's Swiftys (the other member is bassist Tom Murray) -- that give them some breathing room. "First of all, you can go and hang out with a different bunch of guys or girls and learn a new way to play, because every bassist and drummer plays differently," Jansen says. "And maybe we're a little more in charge, too. Whereas in Old Reliable it's five strong personalities, in our own projects we get to control the music more, make it specifically our own sound rather than everybody's." After being rejected by satellite radio as too country for one show and too rock for another, Jansen has finally figured out what to call that sound. "We're Adult Alternative now -- I just want to let the world know," he says. "That's where they shove Ron Sexsmith and Kathleen Edwards and all those people they can't pin down. We've always wanted to be in the same genre as Neil Young, Bob Dylan, The Band, Tom Petty -- people that just make records, maybe country, maybe with synthesizers, maybe with a reggae rhythm section. But it's hard. As time goes on it'll be easier, because once we have 20 records and they're all different, people can say we're a band who can do what we want."
- Toronto Sun


Discography

Full Lengths

The Burning Truth (April 2005)
Pulse Of Light Dark Landscape (May 2002)
The Gradual Moment (February 2000)
Gone Are The Days (June 1999)

Compilations

Hair Of The Dog
Hold Your Ground Volume 3
New Music West 2002
Hit The Hay Volume 7
NXNE Sampler 2005
Edmonton Re-Produce
CJSR Compilation 2003
Frank Slide 100 Years

Other Projects

Shuyler Jansen's Hobotron www.shuylerjansen.com
Shawn Jonasson's The Swiftys www.theswiftys.net

Coming Soon

Mark Davis's Debut Solo Record (Autumn 2005)

Photos

Bio

A fixture on the independent music scene for ten years, Old Reliable has earned a name making gritty honest roots music combined with the fire of rock and roll and the howl of bluegrass. Centered on the songwriting of Shuyler Jansen and Mark Davis, Old Reliables unique style is combined with lyrics that are unafraid to explore the darker themes of traditional country music. Multi-instrumentalist Shawn Jonasson and bass player Tom Murray round out the band. Recently the band replaced longtime drummer Scott Lingley with original Old Reliable drummer Mike Silverman. The key to the groups success is their ability to sound utterly natural; nothing appears forced or artificial, and no one raises an eyebrow at the bubbling synthesizers lurking behind the fiddle or the fuzz guitar solo.

Old Reliables first three albums, including their debut Gone Are the Days, were recorded by Scott Franchuk at Riverdale Recorders of Edmonton and were mastered by Peter J. Moore at the E Room in Toronto. Their fourth album, The Burning Truth, was recorded by Scott Franchuk, Al Irving at Sundae Sound Studios in Calgary, and was mastered by Jim Wilson of Yes Mastering in Austin, TX. Featuring songwriting by both Jansen and Davis, The Burning Truth was released in the spring of 2005, following their first-ever appearance at the renowned South By Southwest festival in Austin. 2005 also saw Old Reliable performing at the Alberta Scene showcase in Ottawa, as well as tours of Canada and the USA.

Old Reliables third recording, Pulse of Light Dark Landscape, showcased the songs of Shuyler Jansen. Tinged with violin, cello and pedal steel guitar the record moves effortlessly from winsome ballads to galloping rock songs. Pulse of Light Dark Landscape features the work of famed rock photographer Elliott Landy (Van Morrison/Moondance), The Band/The Band, Bob Dylan/Nashville Skyline) and guest vocalists Mike Caldwell (The Smalls) and Corby Lund (Corb Lund Band). Pulse of Light Dark Landscape charted across Canada, reaching the top ten in several college, co-op and country radio markets (CKUA, CJSR, CKER, CBC Radio Sonic).

The Gradual Moment, Old Reliables sophomore effort, features appearances by the members of Calexico and Giant Sand as well as the multi- instrumentalist Bob Egan (Blue Rodeo, Freakwater, Wilco, Billy Bragg). The Gradual Moment was composed by Mark Davis and chronicles his girlfriends battle with breast cancer from her initial diagnosis to her tragic death at age 31. The Gradual Moment drew widespread acclaim for its atmospheric sound and reached number one at CKUA and CJSR. The album has also been featured on CBCs Radio Sonic, In the Key of A, and Definitely Not the Opera.

Old Reliables mesmerizing live shows have made them a number of notable friends over the years. The band has shared the stage with Guy Clark, Gord Downie, Alejandro Escovedo, Oh Susanna, Ray Condo, Giant Sand, Richard Buckner, the Corb Lund Band and many others. The members also maintain active careers outside of Old Reliable; these have produced Jansens electronic country solo album Hobotron (released November 2004) and Jonassons old-school country project The Swiftys (whose self-titled debut came out in 2003).