The Rocky Fortune

The Rocky Fortune


The Rocky Fortune manage to steep the timless appeal of classic rock and folk music in the boiling desire of youth to brew a concoction for those seeking substance in modern music.


It was a very good year for the Rocky Fortune.

Following the release of their independent debut LP “Sway” the band spent the better part of 2006 playing every sweaty club and all ages hall they could fit into.
Their record was moving briskly and charting at local indie record stores while word of their cerebral live shows seeped into the ears of those who would care to know.

The Rocky Fortune were opening bills for The International Noise Conspiracy, C’mon, Tricky Woo and Cuff the Duke, all the while selling out their local shows. The band was featured on MuchMusic’s “Going Coastal” and they took 1st place in the Calgary Folk Festival songwriting competition-a prize which included a short main-stage opening slot for Ani Difranco at the 2006 Folk-Fest.

It was hard to see how things could be better. The trio, consisting of members: Todd Gesshe (vocals, bass), Craig Florence-(drums), and Tyler Toews (guitar and banjo) lived together, jammed religiously and were getting tighter by the week.

Eventually the band grew more selective with their performances, choosing instead to shift their focus to the plethora of unfinished songs, riffs, and beats that had been piling up behind them for over a year now. It was time to make another record. To help with the task at hand, the band added two new members to the line-up; C. Rudolph Van Berkel on bass and virtuosic organist, Steve Fletcher.

They were particular in their approach. They wanted to track and mix analog (tape tracks) and keep it live. Encouraged by a small grant from the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, the Rocky Fortune entered Calgary’s MCC studios with engineer RJ Gwilliam in the spring of 2007 for what was to become the band’s sophomore release

For mixing and final tracking the band traveled to the famed Pedernales studios in Austin TX-one of the few studios with enough old school gear still kickin’ around to mix an all-analog record. Jacob Sciba (Grady, Butthole Surfers, Government Mule) was the main mixer and proved once again that noone, under any circumstance, should ever mess with Texas.

Proving to be a formidable demonstration of playfulness and electicism, “Back of the Beeside” is the Rocky Fortune’s most expressive work to date. Impressive in its chameleonic range, from the opening, hyper-literate, synth-drenched “She-Soviet,” the album veers onto folkier roads, bringing in upright bass, banjo, acoustic guitar, and mandolin. Each song is treated to its own unique sonic texture and the performances are truly black belt. In fact, the title track was a first taker for drummer Craig Florence.

The band has played only 3 shows in support of this record and at the time of this writing (October, 2007) it was perched at #1 on Calgary’s college radio charts. The core members of the band are currently in the midst of replenishing mind and spirit: Todd is immersed in the study of trees, Craig is flying helicopters, and Tyler can be found somewhere in Peru.

A new record is in the works.


glass in the gravel

Written By: todd gesshe

One two three, it’s easy see To lose all that you know.
Just put your glands in the gentle hands of my dear Madame Merlot.
She’s sure to have you dancin singin and swingin and droppin dips
She’ll split an atom on your eyelash Rub a Ruby on your lips
Ooh you Ooh you let the lesson start now
Ooh you Ooh you were born to know how
First Beat you might bob your head, two beats to tap your toe
The third fourth fifth six seven eight ninth beat you’ll shake out your soul.
And you’ll sweat, sweat, sweat like it ain’t no sweat.
Sing Sing till your eardrums ring, you’ll be the glass in the gravel.
You’ll make the city sting.
Ooh you Ooh you Let the Lesson start now
Ooh you Ooh you were born to know how

priceless vices

Written By: todd gesshe

I was a cowboy in the wild west.
I rode for ninety days without a rest.
A swig of whiskey and a thought of you, were the only things that got me through
You’ll be with me wherever rivers roll You’ll be with me wherever wind still blows.
I was a pilot in a world war
taking fire off a foreign shore
a cigarette and photograph of you. Were the only things that got me through.
You’ll be with me wherever rivers roll. You’ll be with me wherever wind still blows.
I was a singer in a touring band
with nothing going quite the way I planned
a pint of beer and then a call to you, were the only things that got me through.
You’ll be with me wherever rivers roll
You’ll be with me wherever wind still blows

drop me in the well

Written By: todd gesshe

It happens under streetlights right by all the shutdown stores,
after midnight washes over this town’s dirty concrete shores.
I was working through a hard week, I was working in the rain,
so I bought a shot of fire and I threw her in my veins.
Put me on a barstool, baby drop me in the well,
then leave me swaying on the curb outside the smoky old hotel.
Sometimes you gotta go where the blood’s just a little thinner.
Where it flows a little faster and the lights just a little dimmer.
Be you rich man, be you poor man, be you harlots, be you queens;
you’ll get here on two good feet but you’ll go on two bad knees.
Put me on a barstool baby drop me in the well,
then leave me swaying on the curb outstide the smoky old hotel.
When all you do is drag on through and scrape by to survive,
You gotta almost kill yourself to almost feel alive,
but there’s answers in these glasses, there’s truths behind these walls,
and you know I’ll be here next week, Or the next time fire calls


The Rocky Fortune - Back of the Beeside (2007)
The Rocky Fortune - Sway (2005)

Back of the Beeside made it to number 1 on the CJSW (Calgary) radio charts.

Set List

She Soviet
Money is the only thing that rolls up hill
What makes the grass grow?
Back of the B-side
Drop me in the well
Tonight we pray for rain
Pay the rent
Hip City

cinnamon girl - neil young
happiness is a warm gun - the beatles
commotion - creedence clearwater revival
fortunate son - creedence clearwater revival
the weight - the band
ohio - CSNY
rebel yell - billy idol
dirty deeds - ac/dc