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"SALTCOATS' Bells & Whistles (Review)"

by: Matt moskal
The Saltcoats’ Bells and Whistles is the bouncing New Years baby of Sudbury’s Elgin Street music scene.
Just as its name suggests, the six-song EP showcases the versatility of the Saltcoats’ current line-up. In its first two tracks, Bells and Whistles makes a dramatic transformation
from deep-bellied blues to a Latin dance number before treading into the territory of plucky folk and stripped down R and B.
Lead guitarist and vocalist Will Gillespie adds a layer of charm to each performance with some of his best lyrical content to date.
“You have been so sweet while I’m eating my feet and I still somehow
step out of line,” sings Gillespie on How Nice.
Gillespie’s lyrics on Bells and Whistles are clever but subtle. It’s easy to get lost in the narrative of their vivid imagery and turn of phrase.
“Like shavings of the moon, they’re carving it in space and giving it a face,” sings Gillespie on Bundle Up.
Fourth track Bundle Up and fifth track Friends show off Gillespie and company’s ability
to keep their music simple but memorable.
Both have catchy choruses and uplifting progressions that radiate with homegrown pizzazz.
Closing track So Long to a Dream feels like a post Second World War slow dance number with muted horns and brushed percussion aplenty.
The Saltcoats have made a unique collection of songs that fearlessly
tests the band’s songwriting capabilities. There isn’t a negative emotion tied to the record, which is ideal for chasing away the winter blues. - Cambrian Shield

"Saltcoats Debut EP at the Townehouse"

by Angela Scappatura
Thursday, Jan 15, 2009

The Saltcoats are releasing a self-produced EP during their show at the Townehouse on Saturday night.

Will Gillespie, the band's songwriter and lead vocalist has released more than a dozen albums and is working towards another full-length recording later this year.

The Salltcoats are: Will Gillespie on vocals, guitar and harmonica; Marco Donato on mandolin and banjo; Josh Turnbull on trumpet and drums; and Chris Swayne on bass.

Local father-son duo and local roots music dynasty Paul and Brian Dunn will be the opening act.

Q: Where does the band name the "Saltcoats" come from?
A: There was a town in Saskatchewan called Saltcoats and a couple of summers ago, my brother and I were driving across Canada and it sounded like a good band name. It sounded kind of rustic and roots-y.

Q: You've recorded over a dozen albums - what keeps you doing it?
A: Since I started with these guys, it has changed. What kept me at it for a long time was the writing. I'd be jamming and noodling on the guitar and textures and melodies would come out and I liked them. Also, since I've been playing with Josh and Marco, it has been really fun and they're really professional. That has kept me going along this new sort of style.

Q: Tell me about that "new style".
A: Since hooking up with them, the music has been more fun, more playful compared to before. I used to do more sensitive, slower music - we still do some of that now. In the last year or two I came across a method of writing that is more lyrically candid and earnest. As time goes on I can feel an evolution in my writing. As the writing gets better and I play with better and better people - each band I'm in, I keep saying it's the best band I've been in, and in a way, it's all true.

Everybody I've played with before, they are great musicians, but it's just our rapport and connections (with this band). The guys are very professional and fun. I like to think they like the songs as well.

It inspires me to write songs I know they will have a lot of fun playing.

Q: What themes do you touch on in your new songs?
A: It's all autobiographical. A lot of it has to do with interpersonal relationships and sarcastic break-up songs and there is also some sweeter gentle love songs. Recently I wrote a holiday song about different descriptions of snow falling.

I touch on different subjects. There is one that is a story about a mother, but it's not a sad story - it's cute. A lot of the songs are funny and cute.

Q: What is your songwriting process?
A: In the last couple of years, they come a lot more finished than they used to. I also get a chorus stuck in my head as though I'd heard it on the radio earlier in the day, but it is a song that hasn't been heard.

That's how it starts and then I pick up my guitar and just start playing it. I do have to revise things often, but for the most part, they just come all at once. The great thing about playing with these guys, is that I write all the songs but they work on the arrangements.

Q: What can people expect from your show?
A: They can expect it to be fun. Mostly upbeat songs, but with a few waltzes and tear-jerkers in there. They can expect a mish-mash of styles.

There is going to be a lot of variety and if people like roots and folk music, they're going to have fun.

But if they don't, and they like pop and motown, they're going to enjoy it.

Cover charge for the Saltcoats show at the Townehouse is $5 at the door.

For more information, visit - Sudbury Star

"Musician Returns Home For Pair of Saturday Gigs"

by Chelsea Romain
Friday, Dec. 19th, 2008

South Porcupine native Will Gillespie has been playing music as long as he can remember.

Gillespie got serious about music 8 years ago and said he didn't get good at until 6 years ago.

After a nearly decade-long hiatus from playing music in his hometown, Gillespie is finally returning to Timmins with a setlist he thinks people will enjoy.

"When I was first getting into it, it was a bit more sensitive- songwriter artsy type music" Gillespie told the Daily Press. "It was about proving I knew how to play the guitar.

"Now I have more fun and catchy songs, material I think will play well in Timmins."

Born and raised in South Porcupine, Gillespie left in 2000 to attend University. The following year he decided music was his calling and gave up his studies to work as a singer/songwriter full-time.

Not able to pinpoint a genre for his music, Gillespie said his songs reflect the diverse styles of those who influenced him growing up, including Tom Waits, Lou Reed, Neil Young, and the Grateful Dead.

"It's like a mixed tape" he said, Monday. "It's very diverse stylistically, but it seems to come together.

"I do everything from gospel and doo-wop to bluegrass and pop. But somehow it all seems to fit together."

Learning from influences such as Neil Young and John Lennon, Gillespie said he was able to find a way to be more direct with his songwriting in a more autobiographical sense.

"Lyrically, I've become more exposed and direct," he said. "What comes from the heart goes to the heart."

Gillespie is performing two shows in one night for his return to Timmins. From 7:30-10pm on Saturday, he will be performing at Christopher's Coffee House. From there, he heads down the road for an 11pm-1:30am show at Jake's Tavern in South Porcupine.

"I've seen it done a bunch of times with touring bands. Earlier in the day they'll play an all-ages show before a night bar gig," Gillespie said. "But I think it's best to do it all on one day, especially because it's before Christmas."

Having played three different venues in one night before in Sudbury, Gillespie said it's something musicians get used to.

Used to playing three-hour solo gigs, he said the five hours of playing Saturday shouldn't be a problem.

"I'll start with more of a mellow laid-back style and keep the more upbeat bluesy stuff for the bar, with a little of each thrown in," he said.

"I've been writing and playing for so long I have more than enough material to cover that time without repeating myself."

The shows will not only re-introduce his hometown to what he has been upto, Gillespie said they will also act as a fundraiser. He wants to raise enough money to finish recording his next album [with Saltcoats].

Recently, Gillespie won Sudbury's Musical Playground songwriting competition where he won a small fortune in prizes from photography sessions for the cover art design, layout for the upcoming album and a music video for the winning song "Swords & Dinosaurs".

Only months prior to winning the competition, he also played the Northern Lights Festival in Sudbury and became a successful applicant to Music and Film in Motion's Northern Ontario Music Development Program, which awarded him a private showcase in Ottawa.

"We're [Saltcoats] trying to get the new CD out some time in the new year," he said, adding that he hopes to book a couple of Southern Ontario tours for him and his band Saltcoats.

"Since some of the prizes we won had to do with CD layout, it gives a little more urgency to putting something out in the near future."

At the end of the day, Gillespie said he hopes the touring kicks off and a career in music means no more dead-end day jobs.

"You hear a lot of haggered old musicians talking about being tired of the road," he said. "I hope one day I get to be tired of the road." - The Daily Press


Will Gillespie with These Fabulous Saltcoats - Days of the Sun (2007)
Saltcoats - Bells & Whistles EP (2009)



SALTCOATS began without a name several years ago in the mind of “the ever-playful Will Gillespie” (Greg Younger-Lewis, CBC's Points North).

There was this certain rustic tone ringing in his ears that was nearly realized when Marco Donato accompanied him on a recording, playing mandolin and banjo, giving a vintage sound of clunky blues that stood out among the tracks on the record. Later on, the Will Gillespie Trio brought in the warm, woody thump of a double bass and swish of brushes that hearkened back to a simpler time and gave this vision a second life. Finally, after several incarnations, what started out as a few friends filling in for a couple weekend gigs became SALTCOATS, the realization of this sound. Will gave friend and fellow Sudbury musician Josh Turnbull a call to play drums after trying out a few unsuccessful applicants, and the four words that brought this monster to its feet came through the cell phone: "I play trumpet, too.”

Currently the SALTCOATS are working on a full length album to be released by the summer of 2009. Already, the band has several tracks in rotation across Ontario on campus radio and the CBC.

“If there had been such a thing as indie rock in the 1930's when some of the century's great pop songs were being written... it would have sounded like The Saltcoats.”
Paul Loewenberg, Artistic Director, Northern Lights Festival

Recent highlights include:
Sudbury's Musical Playground Grand Prize Winner 2008 (Children's songwriting competition)
Private Showcase sponsored by Music and Film in Motion at 2008 OCFF Conference
Performed with Sheesham & Lotus and Jackie Washington at Northern Lights Festival workshop in 2008
2009 Mariposa showcase
Have played with such bands as: Elliott Brood, United Steelworkers of Montreal, Ox, Statues, James Lamb and The Wild Turkeys
Played for Sudbury's 125th Anniversary Celebrations at their main stage concert and on the city of Sudbury's float in the 2008 Santa Claus Parade