The Andrew Collins Trio, a five-time Juno Award winning outfit, plays the Acoustic Routes Concert, Sat June 9, 8:00 p.m. at Stony Lake Brewing Co.
Trust the Andrew Collins Trio to turn in their best work under a theme of impeccable workmanship, grafting 11 vocal cuts (tongues) to 11 instrumentals (grooves) to create a seamless finish with their cleverly monikered double album, Tongue & Groove. Each cut is milled to perfection and represents a back-to-basics visitation on what the band does best -- spontaneity of the stage and rapid-fire, improvisational exchanges.
You may know the wildly exploratory 5x JUNO nominees/7x CFMA winning Andrew Collins through his work with The Foggy Hogtown Boys, the equally mind-bending Creaking Tree String Quartet or the Trio, itself – but you’ll never put a label on him for his approach to folk, newgrass, jazz and chamber-oriented roots music. His skills on mandolin, fiddle, guitar, mandola, mandocello and smooth vocals merge with the rich talents of Mike Mezzatesta (guitar, mandolin, fiddle, mandola) and James McEleney (bass, mandocello and vocals) to form the Andrew Collins Trio.
A love for a finely crafted song is evident on Tongue – an 11-track celebration of vocal classics which provide the band with a launching point. From their rousing reinvention of Graham Nash’s “King Midas In Reverse” to the hard-driving murder ballad “Katy Dear”, the Trio explodes with expert instrumentation and high lonesome harmonies. Collins’ soothing vocal atop the original “Black Veil”, a fiddle-led, arco-grounded backstory to the traditional “Long Black Veil”, conjures the music of North meets South as twin violins and bass graft it to an old country sound. Louis Prima, Kevin Breit, Ray Price and Roger Miller are all visited here.
Likewise, fans already attuned to the Trio’s instrumental prowess will thrill to the second half of the presentation, Groove – featuring 8 originals on this 11 track offering, highlighting the band’s inventiveness on their tools of choice. From the dark-toned, pensive edge of Pink Floyd’s “Goodbye Blue Sky” which moves from moody greys before erupting into a boisterous “Ship In The Clouds”, revealing a semblance of light and utter hopefulness, to the uptown sass and hot jazz swing of “Badabada Ba Ba”, these trio mates command a turf that can only be called their own. The rip-cut of “The Long Dusty Road” is a mando-fired reel that features Collins’ high end fiddle work, forging a string-driven harmony that takes this happy-sounding, Celtic-flavoured track out into the burren.
Carved with attention to detail in their musical workshop, The Andrew Collins Trio seamlessly join modernism with tradition, fusing classical to bluegrass, folk with jazz, swing with Celtic – for a rare veneer.