The Lonesome Line
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The Lonesome Line

Edmundston, New Brunswick, Canada | SELF

Edmundston, New Brunswick, Canada | SELF
Band Americana Folk

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"Music Review: The Lonesome Line - The Lonesome Line"

Music Review: The Lonesome Line - The Lonesome Line
Wed, Oct 24, 2012.

When you compare us to, say, Quebec or Ontario, New Brunswick's not really a big province. Whatever way you choose to measure - population, square kilometres, we're a pretty small community of cities, towns and villages. If you're like me, you've been to most places in the province, and are probably related to half the people. Unlike me, it's not your job to get around New Brunswick to see all the bands, and get to know the scene. And let me tell you, we might be small, but it's a big task to get to know everybody. Each area has its own favourites, and not everybody tours. That's where events like the recent Music New Brunswick awards come in handy, with lots of musicians making the trek to get together, and be in one place. It's like shooting fish in a barrel for me, I can take in a couple of dozen shows in one weekend.

Still, there's no excuse for me not checking out Edmundston's The Lonesome Line before. Yes, they do spend most of their playing time three hours away from me, but they aren't new, either. The trio has been together for three years, and their debut album came out a year ago. At that time, they also had a very surprising win at the Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival, when they walked away with the Galaxie Rising Star award, seemingly out of nowhere. So I've been itching to see them for a year now, and finally got the chance in Moncton at the MNB Awards.


Despite being on the geographical opposite end of the province, The Lonesome Line fits right it with the Moncton alternative country scene. These guys could be brothers to the players in The Divorcees and The Backyard Devils. The group's attitude towards country is the same; some outlaw, some old-time, some rockabilly, classic values of outsider country, not playing for hits but for attitude. They do differ, however, in that they have a much more pronounced folk influence. Stripped down, the emphasis isn't so much on ensemble group playing, and electric guitars, but rather the acoustic sound. The basic line-up is acoustic guitar, stand-up bass and drums. Lead singer and guitarist Michael Sullivan writes all the material, and it's all original on the self-titled debut disc. When he isn't plucking guitar, he'll swap for banjo or mandolin, so you get a bit of that bluegrass, even cowboy music. The tales in the songs back that up too; Holy Water is a renegade song, with a bad dude who needs redemption, needs those waters to wash his sins away. It could come straight out of a 60's Clint Eastwood movie.

Elsewhere, there are some 60's-styled folk songs, like Tim Hardin and Ian and Sylvia used to make, even a touch of protest in there, with echoes of The Byrds, and yes, even Dylan. There was always a connection between 60's folk and country, especially towards the end of the decade, and that's the sound I'm hearing in that side of The Lonesome Line. But they can also rock it up a bit too. The Great Divine is one of their main numbers, a look at the negative side of society, the hypocrites running politics and corporations. Now we're into Steve Earle territory. It's not all serious. The group take it way back to do a little Sun rockabilly on Poor Man's Blues, with Sullivan doing his best Jerry Lee Lewis imitation.

So, if you're like me and have missed out on The Lonesome Line until now, the group is playing quite a bit in the next month, both home and, good news, on the road too. There are two Friday night gigs in Edmundston coming up, the 2nd and the 9th of November, then it's out of town for a show at Moncton's Plan B on Saturday November 10th, and later in the month, the 23rd, they're at The Cellar Pub in Fredericton. - Bob Mersereau/CBC


"“These guys from up north kind of came out of nowhere and knocked all our socks off”"

Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival week may be most known as a place to see world-class musicians play, but the Festival also prides itself on being a platform for up-and-coming artists to showcase their talents, such as Harvest’s 2011 Galaxie Rising Star, The Lonesome Line, and the IBC Finals winner, Ross Neilsen.

On Friday of the Festival, the Galaxie Rising Star Showcase took place in the Barracks tent, where six of New Brunswick’s most promising young talents, spanning many genres, laid it out there on the Barracks stage in the hopes of being named the 2011 Galaxie Rising Star, following in the footsteps of past winners such as Ross Neilsen, Matt Andersen and Andy Brown.

Edmundston’s power folk-rock trio The Lonesome Line won the title after strong online votes leading up to the competition and an impressive showing at the showcase that wowed judges and audience alike.

“Usually we find with this competition an inevitable hometown advantage when it comes to public voting, but these guys from up north kind of came out of nowhere and knocked all our socks off,” says Festival music director Brent Staeben. “I think they are a fine choice for our Galaxie Rising Star, and will represent the title well in the year to come.”

Galaxie Rising Star wasn’t the only competition during Harvest week. The Festival also held the IBC Finals, where four New Brunswick blues acts battled it out on stage to represent the Festival in Memphis Tennessee at the 2012 International Blues Challenge – the world’s largest gathering of blues.

Dominating online votes ahead of the competition, audience voting on site, and the favour of the panel of industry judges, Fredericton’s Ross Neilsen was named the winner on Saturday, September 17th.

Ross and his band, The Sufferin’ Bastards, competed in the IBC in 2010 while recording their acclaimed album Redemption down south. Now Ross will return in January 2012 as a solo act to compete once again, representing Harvest and New Brunswick alike.

“Ross has been a great asset to the Festival for many years, and we have seen him grow as an artist tremendously over the years,” says Staeben. “We feel – and clearly the public agrees, based on the votes – that this year will be Ross’ time to shine in Memphis.”

The 2012 International Blues Challenge will be the 28th year of Blues musicians from around the world competing for cash, prizes, and industry recognition. The Blues Foundation will present the IBC January 31-February 4, 2012 in Memphis, TN. - Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival


Discography

The Lonesome Line - The Lonesome Line

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Bio

The Lonesome Line refers to the road – the long and lonesome road each one of us must travel down to reach our highest dreams and aspirations. And this folk-rock trio from Edmundston, New Brunswick has vowed to walk down that road to whatever end it may bring, with their rock ‘n’ roll sensibilities hot on their heels.

Since forming in the summer of 2009, The Lonesome Line have cut their teeth on their self-titled debut album (2011), of which they sold over 1,300 copies independently to their rapidly growing fanbase. In the same year, they won the Galaxie Rising Award in Fredericton, NB during the Harvest Jazz & Blues Fest. In 2012, the trio of musicians were nominated for a trio of Music NB Awards – Group of the Year, Emerging Artist of the Year, and Folk Roots Recording of the Year.

The Lonesome Line draw inspirations from their own individual tastes, blending bluegrass, folk, jazz, blues, outlaw country, and rock ‘n’ roll into their own signature sound. Compared to the likes of The Doors, Bob Dylan, and George Thorogood, the trio have named Johnny Cash, Neil Young, and Led Zeppelin as some of their favourite artists. Their distinctive sound is an amalgamation of roots rock mixed with potent and sincere lyrics covering personal, moral and environmental issues.

“We always play like there’s a thousand people at every show,” says frontman Michael Sullivan, divulging the secret to their energetic and enthusiastic live stage performances. “When we roll into a town we have never been to before, the people there don’t necessarily know our songs. So we want to make a good impression… plus, you never know who’s watching!”