The Magnificent Sevens
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The Magnificent Sevens

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada | INDIE

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada | INDIE
Band Country Bluegrass

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Album Review
The Magnificent Sevens - All Kinds of Mean
(Transistor 66)
By Sarah Greene
THE MAGNIFICENT SEVENS play Yonge-Dundas Square Friday (August 3). See listing.
NOW RATING:
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You may want a shot of coffee in your beer in order to keep up with the Magnificent Sevens’ sophomore album.

Many of the bluegrass- and country-inspired tunes move at an impressive clip, including an adrenalin-soaked cover of Neil Young’s Unknown Legend and a tough take on the Dillards’ There Is A Time. The Winnipeg acoustic five-piece may be contemporary and a little punk in approach, but they’re traditional in instrumentation, playing acoustic guitars, upright bass, banjo, dobro and fiddle.

And not everything moves so briskly. Travelin’ Song is spaciously drenched in reverby banjo and sad strings, and The Rapture begins with a quietly growled religious warning and a scream. But don’t get the wrong idea – these guys are fun and charismatic. Not frightening in the least. - NOW Magazine


"Progressive bluegrass" sounds like a fake genre invented by Wikipedia; it's hard to imagine the uniquely rural, upbeat, banjo- and fiddle-led country offshoot needing or wanting much progression. And yet here we have All Kinds of Mean, the sophomore album from the Magnificent 7s. On the surface, it's apparently bluegrass, particularly on "Needle in the Hay" and "The Hammer," which recall the early days of Bill Monroe in style and tone. But there is a sense of progression – new corners of bluegrass the Winnipeg band find again and again. They reinvent and rave-up an underrated Neil Young tune ("Unknown Legend"), bring some literal fire and brimstone ("The Rapture"), and offer a haunting original, "Travelin' Song," which evokes not Kentucky but the flat Canadian prairies. Approaching the album with an above-average knowledge of its roots let's one appreciate what Magnificent 7s are trying to do better than your average Joe – to some, this may sound like imitation and nothing more. But beneath the goofy cover art and press photos that present the band as some kind of hillbilly biker gang, there's artistry and, more importantly, a respect for bluegrass music that goes beyond mere homage.
(Transistor 66) - EXCLAIM!


’ve seen B.A. Johnston’s live show over a dozen times and I’ve yet to grow tired of it. In the truest sense, B.A. Johnston is a traveling karaoke time-machine doing at least two coast-to-coast Canadian tours a year, playing in all the towns most bands are unable (or unwilling) to crack. B.A.’s audience ranges from alley-living crust punks to the upper-class indie elite, and he does it almost 100% DIY with little or no push from outside sources. The sheer magnitude of what B.A. Johnston has accomplished by delivering the goods at every show and inimitable work ethic is astonishing and worth note. On this, his first 7” on Transistor 66, Johnston teams up with Winnipeg’s Magnificent Sevens (road warriors themselves). Together, they give Johnston’s comedic balladry a hearty bluegrass backing. The four songs on this 7” find Johnston in his full-on unlovable troll mode, packed to the brim with obscure pop-culture references and moments of unexpected sweetness. There’s much to learn from this. - Weird Canada


Yee haw. Dubbed the “Broken Social Scene of roots music,” Winnipeg collective The Magnificent 7s are exactly the type of band who should be writing songs called “Whiskey Song.” Driven by an acoustic guitar, banjos and fiddle, “Whiskey Song” is a splendid roots song that crams as much as it can into a track that’s just over two minutes long. Traditional song “Red Rocking Chair” features lead vocals from Ida Sawabe and is an album highlight. Chris Bodnarchuk returns on lead vocals with “The Wolf,” a much slower, calmer song that lets the listener catch their breath after the flurry of the first three tracks. Sawabe and Bodnarchuk’s vocals mix well together on “Yodel Song,” which also serves as a nice, warm closing track (and yes there is yodeling). They might not have the star power of Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, James Coburn & co. but this group of Magnificent 7s are worth listening to. - Spill Magazine





Banjo lovers will flip for The Magnificent 7's.

The Winnipeg-based act boasts not one, not two, but three banjo players. That includes T. J. Blaire. He started to play the stringed instrument several years ago.

His father played in a bluegrass band when he was a youngster. At the time, Blaire didn't think the banjo was right for him.

"I wasn't really into it," he said during a recent telephone interview from Montreal.

"Back then I kind of thought it was goofy. I didn't quite understand it."

But that changed when he was about 19 or 20. Blaire had a musical conversion deciding the banjo "was really cool."

He taught himself to play with a style that "is not proper at all."

"It's not Scruggs. It's not clawhammer," he said.

"I just kind of found something that worked for me. It's kind of limiting, but one of these days I'll learn it properly."

The Magnificent 7's released their debut disc, Dirty Roads, in 2008. It was recorded live-off-the- floor in an old warehouse in Winnipeg.

The band did just two or three takes for each song before choosing the version they wanted for the album.


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* Not one, not two, but three banjos!

Not one, not two, but three banjos!
Posted By BRIAN KELLY, THE SAULT STAR
Posted 7 days ago


Banjo lovers will flip for The Magnificent 7's.

The Winnipeg-based act boasts not one, not two, but three banjo players. That includes T. J. Blaire. He started to play the stringed instrument several years ago.

His father played in a bluegrass band when he was a youngster. At the time, Blaire didn't think the banjo was right for him.

"I wasn't really into it," he said during a recent telephone interview from Montreal.

"Back then I kind of thought it was goofy. I didn't quite understand it."

But that changed when he was about 19 or 20. Blaire had a musical conversion deciding the banjo "was really cool."

He taught himself to play with a style that "is not proper at all."

"It's not Scruggs. It's not clawhammer," he said.

"I just kind of found something that worked for me. It's kind of limiting, but one of these days I'll learn it properly."

The Magnificent 7's released their debut disc, Dirty Roads, in 2008. It was recorded live-off-the- floor in an old warehouse in Winnipeg.

The band did just two or three takes for each song before choosing the version they wanted for the album.

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"The whole point of bluegrass music, and I think folk music, is being able to play together," said Blaire.

"It's part of the art form. There's a lot of spontaneity in it. You're never going to play the same way twice as far as what you do for a solo. We really want to capture that kind of energy."

The Magnificent 7's didn't set out to recruit a small army of banjo players. The stacked roster "definitely was not conceived."

"It just happened that we all really love the banjo," said Blaire.

"Everyone wanted to play it. How could you not? It's the banjo, right? It really brings joy to people's faces. All you have t - The Sault Star


Emerging from the fertile confines of Winnipeg's lovably arty and lefty Exchange District, The Magnificent Sevens are a young and committed combo whose roots, country and bluegrass mojos are broad, deep and obvious on this debut album. Recorded in a circle at the Rudolf Rocker Cultural Centre, this is not so much a studio album as it is a document of performers hitting a collective high. Vocalist/guitarist/banjo man Chris Bodnarchuk personifies the high and lonesome sound while his bandmates offer up a collective buzz and howl and roar which belies the fact this is an all-acoustic outfit. - Uptown Magazine


Blurring the lines between routine bluegrass, folk and cowpunk, Winnipeg’s The Mag 7s create a hurried hybrid that really shows on promise on their debut album. It makes sense that they are recording for the fiercely independent local imprint Transistor 66, home to a bevy of rough and ready roots rockers, among other left-field winners. Dirty Roads provides something of a sweet punch in the gut as it rocks and reels along, loaded with some pretty complex banjo picking, bright fiddle playing and bluegrass gang harmonies that liftthemselves from the standard high-harmony template. - Winnipeg Free Press


Here's a question: Why do so many prairie acts play mountain music? And here's another: Why don't they all play it as interestingly as the Sevens? With their three-banjo lineup, high-lonesome co-ed vocals and authentically rustic approach, these bluegrass punks remind us of The Knitters -- except those cats never covered Propagandhi and Bill Monroe back-to-back. - Winnipeg Sun


With the kind of attack these guys and girl are known for launching, it matters not that The Magnificent 7s are short a gunman. The Winnipeg six-piece have been staging a fiery three-banjo frontal assault on audiences since 2006, playing upwards of 100 shows in the last two years alone.

Gnarly bluegrass and roots with depth and breadth are the tools in the Mag 7s' shed, and they have built a sturdy rep and repertoire in the very short time since the September launch of their wise beyond its years (and partied beyond its limits) debut Dirty Roads, a brazen collection of shit kickers and soul stealers that doubtless lends itself extremely well to live extrapolation. So get ready to bear witness: The Magnificent 7s are about to embark on an Eastern Canadian tour that'll take them right to the edge of Confederation - Hour


"Dirty Roads" is the debut from a loose collective of banjo wielding Winniepeggers who operate under the tagline The Magnificent Sevens. Magnificent is the right word for these hootenanning honchos and honchesses who play bluegrass like its going out of fashion....just as its coming into fashion...funny that. The sound reminds me of when the Good Brothers play with the Sadies. For my money honey its the track Todays Empire, Tomorrows Ashes that showcases the skillz of this prairie pack of polished pluckers. - Durham Region


Discography

Dirty Roads (2008) has received a warm welcome from Canada's roots community and has received extensive airplay throughout the countries campus radio network. Dirty roads reached #2 on Earshots Folk/Roots/Blues category in late 2008.

George The Animal Steel 7" (2011) was a collaboration between Hamilton cult icon BA Johnston and The Magnificent Sevens. This limited edition pressing is only available at live shows

All Kinds of Mean (2013), peaked at #2 on Earshots Folk/Roots/Blues charts in early 2013 and will soon be released to USA and Europe.

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Bio

In the era of digitally produced radio pop, acoustic music is quickly becoming a voice for the counter-culture.

Playing traditional bluegrass instruments, The Magnificent Sevens draw from a variety of musical backgrounds to create a relevant sound for the musically informed. The five piece band maintains a 100% acoustic live show while channeling influences that range from Bill Monroe to Kurt Cobain.

Based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada (Slurpee capital of the world/Murder Capital of Canada), this hard working, acoustic five-piece has traveled many roads—over 100,000 km in three years throughout Canada and the US—since its debut release Dirty Roads (2008). The band is currently touring there most recent album, All Kinds of Mean.