Orillia Opry
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Orillia Opry

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"Disc-overy of the Week"

ORILLIA OPRY
Pandion Haliaetus (Ships at Night)


When Orillia Opry's Daniel Noble sings "I live in a loft," he's not talking about the kind that costs $300,000 on Queen West. His Montreal-based band would prefer to be housed up in the rafters of an abandoned farmhouse, where their open-hearted roots-rock would be free to reverberate loudly but privately. Noble belongs to the Great Lake Swimmers/Chad VanGaalen school of quivering crooners, but sounds less in need of a consolation hug, his self-effacing lyricism leavened by winsome "Beast of Burdon" style soul struts ("Lucky Wind") and robust, hand-clapped rave-ups with trumpet solos ("Silent Film"). And as bitter kiss-off "Long Thorn" illustrates, nothing cures a broken heart like a bitchin' guitar solo. STUART BERMAN - Eye Magazine (Toronto)


"Grand ole Opry"

Old souls Daniel Noble and Emma Baxter make magic as Orillia Opry

The dynamic duo of Daniel Noble and Emma Baxter is one of the year's quiet local surprises. They surfaced almost out of nowhere with their debut, Pandion Haliaetus, a soft spoken/sung release that hits the heart equally with beautiful ballads, barnstormers and folk-country-pop revivals. Sounding wise beyond their years, Orillia Opry have harmonies down to a science, songwriting running through their veins and the prowess to cross genres and generations.
They're part of the growing Ships at Night empire, alongside Timber!, The Field Register and Plants And Animals - one of this city's finest stables.

"I've found everybody associated with Ships at Night to be pretty great and very supportive," says Noble.

Baxter agrees: "All the musicians under the label are doing so many various projects simultaneously that everyone seems to keep their musical selves very stimulated."

This cross-pollination is evident on Pandion, produced by Warren Spicer of Timber! and Plants And Animals, who also lends a hand on piano, bass and guitars. Recorded almost spontaneously over the course of a weekend with a few other guest players, the album has a ramshackle, almost carefree feel to it. It took over a year to be released, which has changed how the two interpret the album.


"After hearing it for so long and only now seeing it being heard by and spread around to other people, it kind of feels like it's finally happening," says Baxter.

Noble concurs: "I think I ingested and passed it eight months ago."

Now it's your turn.

COMMENTS:

1. Smooth Sailing!

Ships at Night - great label, great bands, great creative sprit. Any label that, in addition to the sublime Orillia Opry, can also boast the likes of Timber!, The Field Register and Plants and Animals must be doing something right! And when you factor in the very favourable, nigh-incestuous cross-pollination that such like-minded artists engender, then it really comes as no suprise that Orillia Opry's already sublime compositions and scintillating live performances come across as that much more refined and actualised. Such is the creative synergy and nurturing spirit that Ships at Night wholeheartedly embodies!

-Mark St Pierre
July 21st, 2006


2. (((My Two Cents))) - Daniel Noble and Emma Baxter's Great Project

Daniel Noble and Emma Baxter really are a great duo and the music they release really does hit you straight in the heart. Pandion Haliaetus is a sensational debut release and all of the songs that fill this album are filled with passion and perfection. Emma's voice is spectacular but there's something really special about Daniel's vocal skills. A lot of potential there. Orillia Opry were born with a gift, and that is the gift of music. Whether it be vocal skills, lyric writing, or harmony creation, they possess it. Big things shall come for these two.

-Zachary Masoud
July 20th, 2006
- The Hour (Montreal)


"Wood, Wires and Whiskey"

Orillia Opry
Pandion Haliaetus
By Chris Whibbs

Whether the duo of Daniel Noble and Emma Baxter are from Orillia, ON is a minor mystery, but they sure do take a cue from the opry side of things. Although more folk-based than country, there is still a dedication to rawness that gives this debut a gentle intimacy. While the band shine with upbeat numbers like “Aunt June Angelina,” their true talent lies in the minimal ideas found in “It’s Rare.” With nothing but effortless strumming of a guitar, Noble evokes the classic sense of longing, and this is accentuated by the addition of Baxter’s harmonies and piano. Simple and elegant, this may not light people’s feet on fire, but it says wonders for this duo’s talent. The closing “Lone Dogs Will Roam” is another strong effort that goes for the gut with its slow build and attention to detail. When the duo, along with Timber’s Warren Spicer, hit their three-part harmonies and shuffling acoustic beat, it is nothing less than sublime. Straddling the line between throwback to cathartic country and downbeat folk, Pandion hits very few wrong notes, allowing Noble and Baxter’s sincerity to shine through. A strong debut, to say the least. (Ships at Night) - Exclaim!


"Pandion Haliaetus"

Whether it's the charming faux naive narration in songs like I Live In A Loft Like An Osprey or the whispery interplay between Daniel Noble's and Emma Baxter's fragile vocals, there's something that makes Orillia Opry more engaging than your average indie folk outfit. Pandion Haliaetus is a collection of whooshy tunes that'd sound perfect played on an old suitcase record player on a rainy day at the cottage, a kind of twangy driftwood soul that superimposes bass lines swiped from old Motown tracks onto feather-light strumming and rickety piano arrangements. The songs could use a little tightening up, with stronger vocal melodies to call attention to the deft writing (read the liner booklet to appreciate Noble's lyrics) and more variety to make individual tracks stand out, but the disc's sustained atmosphere suggests Orillia Opry have lots of potential.

Join the Orillia Opry at the Boat tonight (Thursday, October 12). - NOW (Toronto)


"'Lighthouse For Stragglers' Eyes'"

Orillia Opry isn't a person. It's two: Montreal's Daniel Noble and Emma Baxter. And Orillia Opry are releasing their second album, Lighthouse for the Stragglers' Eyes. And it's marvelous.

It's a record that seems modeled on one thing: on the harmony of Daniel and Emma's voices, on the smoke signals and sparks that their duets evoke. Sometimes their singing require a soft song, sometimes a loud one, often a little of each. And yet the result is not a glut of midtempo grey; it's a limber, supple thing, an album with moss on the north side and a hand on the east. Folk, and folk rock, that you could wear swinging on your neck as you bike down rue Bernard, screeching to a stop at the sight of your love's rosy face.

"I Lied" is the prettiest, and bitterest, break-up song that you'll hear this year. They sing their sadness with the plainest of adornment, with the evenest of tones. Such a fearsome, gentle chorus: "If you come back / come back with a heart attack". A heart attack! Like it's the easiest thing to sing, like there's nothing tightening in their chest as they stare you down. Like they're not going to go home and do the dishes, and put on a kettle, and forget to make the tea, and like they're not going to sit staring out the blank glass of the window reminiscing, and angry, and like they're not going to go in to the kitchen and see the cold kettle and boil some more water and like as the tap shushes at their fingertips they're not going to begin to cry like a dog, banging their fist against the sink in fury at themselves

"Shadow Shadow" is a rock song with a Neil Young poster on the wall, and it's a slow fade-in to the album, and it's more gold than silver. I want to own a small bell, a hand bell, and for that bell to rest on a shelf in my house. And inside the bell I'll hide "Shadow Shadow", and every time I ring it, the song will be there, ringing like a cathedral carillon, shaking all the burrs from my limbs, all the sand from my eyes, all the innocence from my blood, all the blood from my innocence. It's a song-title that ought to be written in all caps. "SHADOW SHADOW." An electric guitar solo that's already written in all caps. "RADADADA RARADADA DA OH DA DA OHOH fuck YES." - Said The Gramophone


"Lighthouse For Stragglers' Eyes"

Album Review: Orillia Opry - Lighthouse for Stragglers’ Eyes

Orillia Opry - Lighthouse for Stragglers' Eyes

(Ships At Night, Oct. 30 2007)

I’d have to say I’m becoming a big fan of Montreal’s Ships at Night Records, a sentiment eagerly furthered by Lighthouse for Stragglers’ Eyes, the sophomore release from folk-duo Orillia Opry.

That said, having not really been a fan of last year’s overly perky and repetitive single “I Live in a Loft Like an Osprey,” from Orillia Opry’s debut, Pandion Haliaetus, I wasn’t really sure what to expect from their latest release. However, the moment opening track “Shadow Shadow” faded in and sauntered through my stereo like a dark and purposeful storm, complete with muted lightning by way of slightly buried sporadic guitar shredding, I was definitely intrigued—and it didn’t take much for the rest of the album to win me over.

Carried by the delicate harmonies of Emma Baxter and Daniel Noble, Lighthouse for Stragglers’ Eyes puts on a veritable clinic of how to execute effective vocal interplay. Haunting and sweet, these two own the higher registers and evoke complimentary comparisons to the likes of Great Lake Swimmers (albeit with much less reverb), a dynamic exemplified by tracks like “Lead Frames” and “You Should Tell Me So.” However, were it necessary to choose a particular number to demonstrate this album’s effectiveness I’d have no difficulty pointing in the direction of “I Lied.” Sweet and irresistible, this song charms with its innocence (“I felt you up in front of them all, people shouldn’t feel each other at all”) and, before you know it, the tuneful melody has you by the hand.

Of course, that’s not to say that the album’s more upbeat numbers don’t have any merit all their own, as, bolstered by the driven rhythm and endearing melodies of more aggressive songs like the mid-album combo of “Beacons On” and “Riverside 2,” there is a lot here to like. In fact, for evidence of upbeat prowess one need look no further than the spirited and rollicking final track, “Peace Will Come.” As balls-to-the-wall as you get in folk-rock, this admirable album closer is the perfect anthem for an effervescent Día de los Muertos parade through the prairies.

All told, Lighthouse for Stragglers’ Eyes is a captivating album of endearing folk-rock that furthers the growing reputation of a deserving Canadian duo. - Wolves, Hawks and Kites


"Neil Young and Radiohead: together at last"

Neil Young and Radiohead: together at last
T'cha Dunlevy, CanWest News Service Published: Monday, October 29, 2007

Neil Young and C.S.I.: Miami aren't normally mentioned in the same breath.

But both came up in conversation with Montrealers Daniel Noble and Emma Baxter about their stark and striking neo-folk duo Orillia Opry.

Young's influence is easy to trace on the group's new album, Lighthouse for Stragglers' Eyes, and Noble makes no attempt to hide it.

"I listened to Neil Young pretty much exclusively for a year and a half of my life," he says. "Now it's about 30%. I was also really into Nick Drake and Will Oldham; I'm a huge Smog fan--Bill Callahan.

"I don't purposely try to write like [Young]. I don't have to -- the entire way I play acoustic guitar is from listening to so much Neil Young. I'm comfortable with that; he's a pretty good dude to emulate. But when I was younger I was a huge Radiohead fan, too. So there's a lot of other stuff in there."

There is a rock 'n' roll aspect to the new disc, which isn't exactly a rock album, but has its moments.

Hard strumming, punchy drums and bursts of electric guitar give the music definite edge, and provide captivating contrast to Noble and Baxter's soft-sung vocals -- her harmonies floating intuitively alongside his plaintive high register.

Noble writes the songs -- intriguing, poetic ruminations on darkness, love, bugs moving rocks and a dead prostitute. Which is where C.S.I.:Miami comes in.

"I'm into the show because it's so stupid," he admits. "Horatio Caine is just a ridiculous character, and David Caruso is such a weirdo. The first couple of episodes I saw took place in the Everglades. I thought it was a neat concept for a show.

"So I wrote a couple of songs [ Riverside 1 and 2] about a dead prostitute they find in a river in the Everglades. ... I wanted to try and write a song that wasn't about myself. ... I don't do that very often. The best songwriters are really good storytellers."

Lighthouse for Stragglers' Eyes is Orillia Opry's second release on local indie label Ships at Night, recorded at upstart studio the Treatment Room and overseen by Montreal guitarist-producer Warren C. Spicer.

Members of alt-roots act the Ideal Lovers -- guitarist Mike O'Brien, bassist Zac De-Camp and drummer David Payant --also appear throughout Lighthouse. It's a group effort, Noble says, that gives credence to the saying that there's strength in numbers.

"You have to find like-minded individuals, to help each other out and make a musical community."

"We met (Spicer and Wood-ley) and they were immediately incredibly supportive," Baxter adds. "Since then, they've continued to be around."

Lighthouse for Stragglers' Eyes has the breadth, cohesion and confidence of a band coming into its own, and finding its voice with a little help from friends. Sure, you'll hear Neil Young in there, and even a little Radiohead. But you'll also hear a group of musicians aspiring to something bigger, and building a classic sound for right now. - National Post


"Lighthouse For Stragglers' Eyes"

Orillia Opry
Lighthouse For Stragglers' Eyes
( Ships At Night ) - 2007
» Chronique
le 14.01.2008 à 06h00 · par Eric F.
Repéré grâce à son excellent premier album, Pandion Haliaetus, Orillia Opry n'hésite pas à nous prendre à contre-pied sur ce deuxième album, sorti seulement un an après le premier. Daniel Noble et Emma Baxter, en bon Canadiens qu'ils sont, rendent un vibrant hommage à Neil Young et ses guitares électriques le temps d'un Shadow Shadow dont la détermination surprend, tout en sachant nous séduire en même temps.

N'allez pas pour autant croire ces deux-là quand ils vous déclarent "I Lied" et ralentissent le jeu : Orillia Opry a manifestement réussi à dompter la fée électricité et étoffer son registre, ce qui se traduit également sur le disque par une assurance plus marquée.

Toujours un peu fragile mais pas trop, à deux doigts d'une rupture qui ne viendra finalement jamais, la voix de Daniel Noble semble repousser ses propres limites pour porter l'album de bout en bout, aidé en cela par une Emma Baxter radieuse d'économie et d'interventions judicieuses. On ne soulignera d'ailleurs jamais assez à quel point il est rare de nos jours de rencontrer des groupes qui savent intégrer le silence dans leur compositions, et Orillia Opry en fait indubitablement partie, assurant avec une classe incroyable des passages d'un minimalisme saisissant (You Should Tell Me So, à tomber par terre).

Parfois construites à partir d'un pas grand chose, les chansons du duo de Montréal n'hésitent pas une seule seconde à (parfaitement) négocier un virage pop, comme sur l'électrique Riverside 2 qui dépasse même l'excellent I Live In A Loft Like An Osprey de Pandion Haliaetus, et dont la fin nous laisse penser que le groupe a dû passer du temps à écouter Built To Spill... (quel dommage que cette conclusion ne s'étire pas plus !).

On ne s'étonnera pas que Daniel Noble revendique son adoration pour Smog, tant il parvient à se hisser au niveau de ce dernier le temps de quelques phrases assassines comme ce vengeur "If you come back, you'll come back with a heart attack" sur I Lied. Le registre de composition s'est tellement étoffé que ça sera à la fameuse série "Les Experts : Miami" que l'on devra le dyptique Riverside 1 & 2. A croire que le groupe aurait pu tout tenter sur ce disque... et le réussir.

Véritable confirmation plus que surprenante de la part d'un duo étiqueté folk, Lighthouse For Stragglers' Eyes semble être touché par la grâce et, à l'image de sa conclusion, le réjouissant Peace Will Come, devrait dessiner un large sourire de satisfaction à quiconque croisera sa route. - Webzine Millefeuille


"Lighthouse For Stragglers' Eyes"

Orillia Opry
Lighthouse For Stragglers' Eyes
Ships At Night/Sonic Unyon
www.myspace.com/orilliaopry

Premier constat: y'a trop de groupes de folk-pop orchestrale au Québec, voire à Montréal, voire dans le Mile End. Ça commence à être épidémique et c'est sûrement plus dangereux que les algues bleues. Deuxième constat: heureusement pour eux (et pour nous), la troupe locale Orillia Opry prouve encore une fois qu'il s'en tirerait haut la main si j'arrivais à réaliser mes fantasmes darwinistes sur la scène musicale provinciale. OEuvre touffue oscillant harmonieusement entre les moments épiques (l'impressionnante Shadow Shadow et ses six minutes d'envolées et d'harmonies touchantes mène le bal) et les chansons en huis clos (l'intimiste I Lied devrait vous tirer une larme ou deux... à moins d'être une créature dénuée d'émotions comme un vampire ou un partisan de l'ADQ), cette deuxième offrande du duo formé de Daniel Noble et d'Emma Baxter consolide la place de ces musiciens au zénith du paysage folk québécois en plus de faire en sorte que les compères ne seront pas déportés lorsque mon règne de terreur débutera alors que les plus malchanceux entonneront «Aweille, embarque ma belle, on se fait déporter à Terre-Neuve!». (AP) - Bang Bang Magazine


"Lighthouse For Stragglers' Eyes"

Lighthouse for Stragglers' Eyes
Steve Guimond

You'd be hard-pressed to find a combination of voices that float better together than Daniel Noble's and Emma Baxter's, the two principals behind Montreal outfit Orillia Opry. For their second full-length they've entrusted good pals with production duties (Warren C. Spicer from Katie Moore and Plants And Animals fame) and musical accompaniment (members of Ideal Lovers and Plants And Animals) for the betterment of all. The record is not afraid to highlight both quiet and loud pop moments, capturing a perfect folk and country sunset on a warm autumn evening. The harmonies will ring in your ears for years.

- Hour Magazine


Discography

1. Pandion Haliaetus (May 2006)
2. Lighthouse for Stragglers' Eyes (October 2007)

Photos

Bio

Daniel Noble is from a small town rich with red brick buildings.
Emma Baxter is from a valley on an island in the sea.
Together they sing like crazy birds descended into the city from an opera house in a forest in the sky.
Orillia Opry is like a comfortable old car. There’s a real warm familiarity to their songs, kind of like that worn leather interior and broken turn signal. Hitting the Montreal music scene with their unique and intimate folk sound for some time now, their songs are fuller sounding and more infectious than you would expect from a folk duo. Having said that, they also rally together an impressive backing band of some of Montreal’s finest musicians. With experience and balls to boot, an older and wiser Orillia Opry delivers folky (not folksy) rock music that is as catchy as it is timeless. Now set to release their second record, Lighthouse for Stragglers’ Eyes, they certainly impress with a more confident sound, and strangely dark subject matter.
The songs were recorded to 24 track 2" analog tape at The Treatment Room in Montreal. They feature an incredile cast of some of the best musicians Montreal has to offer, including members of Plants and Animals and The Ideal Lovers. Produced by Warren C. Spicer (Plants and Animals, Katie Moore, David Macleod), this record is full of sonic surprises including creaking chairs and pianos, epic rock moments, catchy horn arrangements and beautifully quiet rooms. Most of the songs were recorded live with very little overdubbing, which is how Daniel and Emma's vocal harmonies should be heard.