Willow Rutherford
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Willow Rutherford

Band Pop Cabaret


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"Strictly Ladies (or almost)"


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Strictly Ladies (or almost)
Current mood: pleased
Category: Music

For some reason, it's always been more difficult to get women to come out and play at Strictly Acoustic than it is to get guys. Maybe this is simply a demographic problem and there are just more bands fronted by guys, but this month the ladies ruled the stage at O Patro Vys.

Martine Groulx, aka Camaromance, opened up the night with her songs that made me feel like running away from home, preferably towards the south, where a porch swing is all you need to mend a broken heart. Martine herself is heading west as I type, on a cross-country tour ending in Vancouver.

Give, made up of Stephan Ritch and Caroline St-Louis were up next, and they brought their sweet sounds and Buddhist philosophy of giving without expectations to the audience. Caroline's voice has an amazing range, which can best be described as floating upwards, as if mounting a spiral staircase, stopping occasionally to dust the banister, water a plant, then moving further up in the most surprising ways.

Alecka was our ingenue of the night, our "Discovery" though very well known to the entourage that accompanied her to the show, heretofore known as "The Fan Club," who were as supportive of their gal as they were of all the other artists of the night. Alecka's songs were at once brash, funny, and heartfelt. She warned us in the second set that she was going to get a bit dark, which prompted our trusty sound man Martin to comment that the whole second set was dark. "Women," he concluded.

Finally, the real discovery of the night for everyone in the room was The Subcollisions who turned O Patro Vys into The Blue Angel as they sang whimsical and tortured songs about bootlegger's wives, worm-ridden hearts, and drowning in bathtubs. These bastard children of Tom Waits and P.J. Harvey brought down the house, with banjo and accordion and foot-stamping and the occasional pigeon-cooing. (No pigeons were harmed during the singing of said songs). They have yet to release a cd, but make sure to catch them live at Le Divan Orange on Saturday, October 27th, and visit their myspace page for a taste of their wonderful madness.

So thanks for coming if you were there, and so sorry you missed it if you weren't. You'll be able to catch some of it soon at www.youtube.com/strictlyacoustic, but as all Strictly Acoustic shows go, ya snooze, ya lose.

November 8 puts the men back in the spotlight: it's the Tess-tosterone show, as our always witty sound guy Martin of the Raccoons put it, and he will be one of them, along with Pipo Fiasco, the Hangover Lobsters and Chambre.

Hope to see you there.

Tess - Tess @ Strictly Acoustic http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendID=146971832&b

"Uber Hussy uber alles!"

Filed under The Log · From jonathan · 08/17/06

Having in my mind appointed myself a kind of secret internal auditor of The Scope’s Hot Ticket features, I’ve begun making a point of attending at least one “Hot Ticketted” show a week, partly out of a skeptic’s interest in the trustworthiness of our paper’s recommendations, and partly out of embarrassment for how much of a recluse I’ve allowed myself to become in these last few weeks. So, in this spirit, I sauntered out this past Saturday night (August 12) to the Ontario supergroup Über Hussy’s third and final St. John’s show at The Basement.

When we showed up a little after midnight, the band was playing to an almost completely empty bar. It’s kind of disgraceful how often this happens to visiting bands from outside of the province. Having said that, though, I can only hope their first two shows were better-attended. My good friend and drinking companion Abraham O’Connor, who accompanied me, wanted to go someplace with more people. As much as I love him, Abraham lacks that faith in the infinite possibilities of an empty bar lacking which you simply cannot call yourself a proper alcoholic.

I bought the first round to cheer him up, and we sat back, a couple of drinking untermensches waiting to be, um, aurally mounted, I guess, by the Über Huss. The band, as it turned out, was every bit as drunk and flirtatious and ill-tempered as you could have hoped from its name it would be.

In fact, Über Hussy is really four bands for the price of one. That is, there are four distinctive and equally accomplished songwriters, and, correspondingly, four distinct singers and four distinct musical styles. What’s remarkable is how seamlessly these styles blend into one another over the course of the show. Lucie Idlout sings a kind of laid-back, voluptuous pop/rock/jazz/soul (wow! music criticism is fun!), and occasionally puts down her guitar to rock out on the glockenspiel. Nancy Dutra plays bluegrass that’s nostalgic and melancholy and self-pitying, exactly the way bluegrass should be. Cassandra Rutherford, the band’s keyboardist, sings delicate ballads, which are nevertheless sometimes filled with invective against such objects of scorn as bass players who have spit on her, for example. Her sister, Willow, who plays accordion, sings some weird and wonderful rhapsodies to frantic emotional states (recalling Tom Waits as much as anything else), in addition to a medley of covers, completely turning on their ear such familiar pop songs as “Twist and Shout,” “Like a Prayer,” and James’s "Laid." She also does a remarkable impression of a trumpet with her mouth that has to be seen to be truly appreciated.

Towards the end of the band’s second set, enough latecomers had trickled in and gotten hooked that requests for an encore did not sound as feeble as they might have. For a second encore, Willow came off the stage and played several more familiar covers for a private audience of the six or seven of us who continued to enjoy each minute of it. Even Abraham was smiling! Abraham, who never smiles except when small children fall face-first on concrete and newborn puppies are drowned in shallow streams! Okay, so Abraham is a fictional character I made up to enliven this review a little. I hope the general sense of an outpouring of long-pent-up emotion still comes across.

In short: this was the most fun I’ve had at a show in a long time; I am probably ruined now for every other show I might go to this year; Über Hussy is better than The Beatles, better than Elvis, better than sex; hyperbole is better than mild exaggeration. If you know what’s good for you, you will hop on a plane to wherever it is these girls are playing next, and see them for yourself! Or at least go out and see them the next time they come here.

- jonathan adams
- http://thescope.ca/2006/08/uber-hussy-uber-alles/

"Band profile: Subcollisions"

Band profile: Subcollisions
Influences: Betty Boop, Cab Calloway, the Pogues, the Cure, the Smiths, Neko Case, flea markets, big brothers and sisters, Siouxie and the Banshees, throat singing, the Doors, Uncle Scary Gary Taylor, Bruce Cockburn, the Pixies, Chopin, Bach, Stravinsky, Leonard Cohen, unrelenting melodies whistled while biking, Jennifer Warnes, Bonnie Raitt, el Pachuco, Fanfare pour-pour, storytellers and blatant liars, Mexico City, Marijo Therio, non-motorized boats of all kinds, Lady Firefly, Shocka delica, Fabian Jean’s paintings, Brooklyn, Mary Margaret O’Hara, k.d. lang, Feist, Martin Tielli, the Unsettlers, Damien Robitaille, and Cookie Monster.

Best gig ever: Our beloved “Shotgun Wedding” show with our true loves and musical soulmates the Unsettlers at Le Divan Orange last July, complete with a dancer jumping out of the wedding cake! But this Saturday night (October 27) we are back at Le Divan Orange for a weird, wacky, and wild Halloween show, which might just be the best one yet.

What do you think sets you apart from other student bands? The frog! Just kidding. We have a lot of non-instrument instruments like the Ugly Stick, which has to be seen to be understood. It makes beautiful music for such an ugly thing. We also tend to play a lot of non-venue venues, like house parties, backyards, and boardwalks. This summer we spent two weeks on our Ugly Goes East tour playing shows on lobster boats and in barns!

What can we expect from the band in the near future? More French songs and whips. (Yes, whips. No lie – we’re working on a cabaret show).

Strangest thing that’s ever happened during a show? Funny you should ask. We’ve had barnyard chickens interrupting with their “clucking” solos, pieces of the Ugly Stick flying out into the crowd (don’t worry, we’re not always that dangerous!), our drummer splitting his pants and our singer splitting her dress, starting a show inside and ending up with the entire band and audience outside on the street, and contortionists, dancers, and women cracking whips have been known to accompany us for a few tunes.

Band Members

Willow Rutherford, Nicole Carmen, Ben Duval, Nicolas Fréchette, Julie d’Eon, Benoit Rocheleau, Elie Jalbert, Lysandre Champagne, Julie Fontaine, Ugly Stick and Morris the accordion

Sounds Like

Franglais Cabaret, or P.J Harvey and Tom Waits dancing the tango in rubber boots in the shadows of an alley, splashing in puddles filled with bobbing wooden toys.

Record Label


Upcoming shows

October 27, 9:00 p.m. with le P’tit Ben at Le Divan Orange Hanté

November 9, 9:00 p.m. at Quai des Brumes (Phoques de Montreal Festival)

Copyright 2006, Daily Publication Society
Site Meter - http://www.mcgilldaily.com/view.php?aid=6559

"fans of Tom Waits, Madeleine Peyroux, Gogol Bordello, check out Subcollisions"

"Sounds Like ...P.J.Harvey and Tom Waits dancing the tango wearing rubber boots in the shadows of an alley splashing around puddles filled with bobbing wooden toys"

these folks put on one excellent live show when me and my lady saw them up in Montreal.

They said they wouldn't play down here in the States until Bush is out of office...can't say that I blame them.

Check out "Warm Worm", in particular...it's got the sweetest melody that won't leave your head. - http://www.thenoiseboard.com/index.php?showtopic=167351

"fans of Tom Waits, Madeleine Peyroux, Gogol Bordello, check out Subcollisions"

post Jun 12 2007, 03:57 PM
Post #3

Group: Members - Basic
Posts: 977
Joined: January 13 06
From: Cambridge, MA
Member No.: 7,020

Cabaret-style ballads with a driving trad-french-gypsy-folk sound... I heard someone utter the phrase "beer brothel" between songs - no idea what that was about! - but it is certainly music to drink to, waving your beer glass in the air. The Subcollisions channel the theatrical style of the Tiger Lillies without the face paint and unending gloom (not that they didn't have their share of sad songs...), and the romanticism of Jacques Brel, who is apparently alive and well and living in Montreal. A very well put together 9 piece that included an upright bass, uke, accordion, flute, cello, saw, trumpet and then some. Playful and humorous, they sang about old men with mustaches, couple fights (a song written for their friends' wedding), the ugly stick (while playing their "ugly stick"-- a gnarled branch with a hairpiece and jingling bells and such on it) and a touching song delivered by one of their two vocalists, Willow Rutherford, to her accordion, Morris. Any musician that can weave "pussy fart" seamlessly into the lyrics of a sweetly sung, sentimental song (that would be "Warm Worm", my favorite earworm) is something worth listening to in my book.

If you're in Montreal this week, I'm jealous. (The Subcollisions do it again with The Unsettlers Friday night.) - http://www.thenoiseboard.com/index.php?showtopic=167351

"Get Ready to Collide with The Subcollisions"

Get Ready to Collide with The Subcollisions
by euphoreador

The Monthly Mess V; is it the fifth month already?, is a-knocking on the the door, down the back alley, behind the fish monger, through the mouse infested restaurant, past the whiskey swilling piano player, down the lonely street and up the steps into wherever this Mess will bring you on Wednesday July 25th. All the time of your pilgrimage, to satiate your artistic hunger in what is cool, a gorging that happens but once a month at the Monthly Mess, you can feel uplifted and relieved by one of the bands that awaits to feed you; The Subcollisions. They are ready with their carnival vibe and tongue-in-YOUR-cheek suave , with their geek chomping, romping malarkey and musical mayhem. I thought I would get to the bottom of a few things. So I got in contact with Willow Rutherford and Ben Duval (Banjo Ben) to get to said bottom.
The Subcollisions (Tow Truck)
Posted to Indyish Video by euphoreador on July 15, 2007
Click to Play | View Details

Are you currently reading anything now or what was the last book you read that made you think about things differently or impacted you?

(Willow) I recently read a very warped book called Geek Love. It is the story of a family of carny circus freaks and these types of histories definitely influence my particular style of songwriting. It kind of felt like the author listened to Tom Waits while writing the book. Also I heard that Coney Island may be bull-dozed in a year to be transformed into condos, so the band hopes to go play in Brooklyn late September and check out where Mr.Waits’ Coney Island Baby came from before that nostalgic inspiration is gone. Another tale of woe that helped partially form a song was Trainspotting. Once my brain wrapped around the dialect I found the characters struggled with a sort of land locked piracy much like many people who stay in one place (like their hometown) for too long.

You seem to feel very comfortable singing in both French and English. Do you prefer one to the other? Does one of the languages allow you more expression?

(Willow) I wish I was more comfortable writing and singing in French. Unfortunately I can’t say I am fully bilingual, although most of our practices are conducted in French with smatterings of English thrown in. A linguistic exchange is constantly happening in the group. Besides Julie D’Eon (who was raised in English by Acadian parents,) I am the only true Anglophone of the group and that suits me just fine. Being in a French speaking environment is fantastic for learning and improving this second language and I love the opportunity. I greatly improved my Spanish by living in Mexico and working with bands there, and the same is said for communication in French here in Quebec. Nicole Carmen is from New Brunswick and hence the French lyrics so far come from her, with the exception of a few Franglais things I throw into my songs. I love singing in French (and playing my accordion) and do feel a certain “joie de vivre” when performing or even speaking in French or Spanish. It’s really fun to be able to connect with both parts of the audience here in Montréal. I have found that English is definitely an easier language to write lyrics in as we can chop up sentences and butcher grammatical structures and often get away with it.

The Subcollisions have a large amount of people in it compared to the average band. Did this take awhile to assemble? What are the challenges you face with dealing with so many people? It seems that there would be not only logistic obstacles but also creative.


(Banjo Ben) The core of the band has been together since February, with the horn players joining us one by one within the past few months. The fact that all members have past musical experiences (except Julie D’Eon- this is her first musical experience!), and already knew one or two people in the band made the integration of new members fairly easy. I’m still amazed that so many talented and creative people could come together, see the potential and fall in love with a project at such a short amount of time.

I think everyone’s goal is to get the songs across in the best possible ways, and from the start, we’ve always seen Subcollisions as a “variable geometry” band, meaning that the songs could be performed
by 2 or 3 or the full band, depending on availabilities (as some members also work with other bands). Having a lot of members open of lot of possibilities and although the songwriting has been done so far
by Willow, Nicole and me, the rest of the band is very present for the arrangements. Obviously, getting everyone together to work on these arrangements is not always easy, and financing travel can become an issue when you want the entire band to be present.

(Willow) It’s true that organizing 10 people can be a real pain, but so far so good- strength is known to be found in numbers - especially with professional players like Benoît Rocheleau and - Euphoreador of Indyish (http://www.indyish.com/get-ready-to-collide-with-the-subcollisions)

"Spectacles au Parc Achille-Trahan"


En première partie, 5 gars et 3 filles, dans un contexte un peu Café du monde avec un look surréaliste où il est permis de tripper seul sur son instrument dans un ensemble mini Big Band complètement dédié aux deux chanteuses.

D’abord le batteur, à sa toute dernière prestation avec le groupe, penché sur son tambour comme un potier, flattant doucement l’instrument comme s’il voulait créer un quelconque bibelot.

Puis la troisième fille, toute discrète, toute en serviabilité, mais qui possède une si belle prestance sur scène, toute belle avec sa flûte traversière.

Puis la chanteuse, assise sur son tabouret, toute emmitouflée sous une tonne de vêtements, avec un registre de voix très étendu ( allant du Rossignol à la sirène de paquebot ), jouant de l’accordéon sous des chapeaux qui la dissimulaient plus encore.

Puis le joueur de trombone, qui y est allé d’un souffle, d’une simulation de vent qui démontrait bien sa dextérité.

Puis un guitariste qui, pendant que l’autre chanteuse jouait d’une guitare jouet, donnait l’impression, ( réelle ou pas ? ) que c’était lui qui touchait les cordes.

Puis un clarinettiste, tout aussi discret, tout aussi membre de l’équipage, rendant à bon port chacun des morceaux de musique.

Et cette immense contrebasse, avec son homme-araignée suspendu à ses cordes, faisant vibrer de son archet l’instrument jusqu’aux plus profondes abysses de son registre.

Le ton a été donné par la première chanteuse qui alternait avec l’autre chanteuse presque pour toutes les chansons, partageant le vedettariat du spectacle.

Un peu de français entre des chansons anglaises chantées dans un climat d’Irlande jazzé, un peu américanisé, avec des musiciens épris d’une autre langue, celle de la musique.

Des tons de Big Band surtout, avec un seul musicien par pupitre et sans directeur, un mini Big Band finalement…

Mais décidément un climat musical tout à fait surréaliste.

- http://municipalite.yamachiche.qc.ca/divers/parc_A-Trahan/index.htm


I recorded some of my songs with my old band the Subcollisions on our EP before we broke up. Sang back-ups on recordings for Courtney Wing, Calamity Royale, Don Bray and other friends. I have songs being streamed through myspace and facebook. Also people are adding my tunes to their myspace sites. I have played my songs live on the radio stations CIUT, (U.of Toronto), CHOQ (UQAM Montréal), CKUT (U. of McGill) and CIFA (the Acadian francophone radio station in southern Nova Scotia.) I am currently working on my first solo album which will be released soon. I am also collaborating with film director Jessie Wallace (Smiling Toad productions) for her film called 'a good meal'.



Started singing at a very young age due to musical family, spent late teens performing in a flaming piano bar with Dad and sister. Took off with a Mexican jazz band after graduating art school and discovered the accordion in Montreal. Composed and performed with the Subcollisions- a 9-piece cabaret franglais linguistic experiment which played it's last gig on June 20th 2008. Secretly loves to play ’80’s covers, Celtic ballads and improvisation of all kinds. Also performs solo, sings back-ups for Calamity Royale, and occasionally records and performs with a hip-hop collective called Societies featuring rapper Mauricio Cuartaz. Composes and performs for film, fashion shows, dancers, and circus performers.

I have a huge list of influences on my myspace page, (www.myspace.com/willowrutherford) To narrow it down, I'd have to list Bjork, Nina Simone, Kate Bush, Tigerlillies, Noel Coward, Bobby McFerrin, Ella Fitzgerald, Radiohead, Screaming Jay Hawkins and of course Tom Waits.