Fire & Fuss : Erin Costelo's sophomore release
I was rediscovering our music community after a very long absence and looking at the local industry through fresh eyes. And I sort of think that is what Erin has done.
From what I understand Erin had been away for many years and then landed back here about two years ago and jumped right back into the music community with both feet.
It’s like she just arrived in Halifax and hand picked out her favorite music and made some friends, and somehow the local music community totally rallied around her. There is no doubt whatsoever that her talent warrants this, but I think an artist has to possess a genuine spirit to be embraced by the community to this degree. Erin’s pretty darn nice.
Tonight was Erin’s sophomore CD release, Fire & Fuss, hosted by the Company House, which she actually helped to build. Pretty neat huh?
The opening band was Bend the River. I’m not going to focus too much on them because it was Erin’s night, but they were fantastic and a bit like a trip back in time to the seventies. Most of their set was kind of moody keyboard stuff with a great groove, but then they hit us with this big jangly guitar song that was totally unexpected. Like what was the name of that, was it one of Ronok Sarkar’s songs from his solo career? If someone knows please let me know because I really liked it.
Anyway, back to Erin. The CBC believed in her enough to record this album, so that says a lot in itself. And it was pretty evident tonight that they’d made a good choice.
Erin’s music is somewhat difficult to classify, but most people would call it a jazz/pop blend, with generous influence from the 1930’s. Her voice is an unusually and delightfully deep female baritone, and she is also an accomplished pianist with a jazz degree from St. FX.
Erin often performs solo and that works wonderfully, but tonight she was joined on stage by her full band of Phil Sedore (guitar), Lukas Pearse (bass), Alex Porter (drums) and Benn Ross (percussion). Every artist has a different style for directing their backing musicians, and I noticed she has a nice way doing that with a warm smile. She’s not afraid to share the limelight either. Amelia Curran and Pamela Mcinnis also lent their vocals for a few songs this evening.
Every song she did was good, but two of the big crowd pleasers tonight were “weak like us”, (that got the crowd moving, oh yeah that is some funky piano!), and her very heartfelt version of Al Tucks’s “Use Your Imagination”. The depth of emotion when playing her originals and when she covers other songs is simply outstanding.
When it was all over we gave her a standing ovation, and she came back solo with my favorite song of hers, “Four Long Years”. I think she sometimes opens her show with this song so it was fitting since she began the show with the last song from the new album, “Go Home”.
Then she brought her band back on stage and sang Pretenders cover. “Brass In Pocket”. That was great fun because she got to “rock the microphone” since the keyboard player from Bend the River jumped in and gave her a chance to stand up. A great show all around…great work everyone!
And if you are sorry you missed it don’t worry. She’s doing a second show for the release at the Company House on Sunday afternoon, and I will also be hosting a show for her on the afternoon of Sunday, June 14th at Sabrina Thurlow’s Photography Studio. Get out and see her if you haven’t yet so you will be able to say along with me someday, “I remember Erin before she was famous”. It’s coming folks, and she’s well on the way I think.