Last of the Free Men album cover
Last night was the Divorcees release of their highly anticipated album, Last of the Free Men. So I grabbed three of my friends who really don’t like country and headed for the Seahorse. I kid you not.
Laura Merrimen opened up with the backing of her full band, the Lonesome Travellers, Hammond organ and all. It was my first time seeing Laura perform and she was everything promised by friends, although different then expected.
I’d been told that Laura is country, but I wouldn’t say so personally. Well in as much as Blue Rodeo is country, then sure. She has her own style, which is what sets great artists apart from the rest of course. She really knows how to set the mood, and her set was like a slow burn. I heard a lot of soul influence in some of the songs and country in others. Mostly, I just heard Laura, and her awesome voice. She’s someone to keep your eye on for sure.
Sometime I’d like to see Laura perform as a solo act at a place like the Company House so I can get a better listen to her lyrics in a quiet setting. The full band was great though. And fun to finally see Serge Sampson play bass. I met Serge a few months ago at the ECMAs but met him as a business man, not a performer. Multitalented Serge runs Hay Sale Records, works with the Divorcees, plays in the Guthries, and has been known to cook up great food for large crowds. Great job Serge…you should be very proud.
There wasn’t much of an intermission before the Divorcees took the stage, and it didn’t take long before the dance floor was full. This band smokes live and makes fans out of everyone. As mentioned, I was there with friends who aren’t country music fans. Well at one point Johanna asked me if country was the new rock because she could not believe the energy in the room. And our friend Sonja in Toronto had given her the thumbs up on the Divorcees which is good because it’s how I got her to go to the show. If I told Johanna before hand she was going to see a country band it would not have happened. Later on she was on the dance floor teaching her Kenyan husband how to two step. As far as I’m concerned any band that can accomplish that small miracle has got chops.
East Coast fiddler extraordinaire, Samantha Robichaud, joined them on stage so we had even more strings. There were so many pretty guitars, and so much talent.
The Divorcees have been tearing it up for a number of years now. They’re a hit with the traditionalists, and have won many fans at the Hank Snow Tribute. The rockers love them too. After a lot of hard work and a lot of great shows across the country, it looks like things are about to break wide open. And it was a great kick off last night…
But don’t take my word for it, go check them all out for yourself.