Flying Shoes Reviews ( UK)
Gordie Tentrees http://www.tentrees.ca
takes the plaudits for this music and more and more of them by the day it seems, however his unique fusion of acoustic, electric, roots "n" rhythm is in equal measure due to his long time cohorts Matt King on Bass and Ken Hermanson on Guitars (sliding and otherwise). This is a band born out of a shared vision and hard work. Former School pals now band mates they hail from the Yukon in the frozen north of Canada, a fact that hasn't seemed to hinder them from extensively travelling in Canada, America and Europe, building as they go a great live reputation. Hence some of the aforementioned hard work.
Recently tagging a lift on a Euro tours with Fred Eaglesmith, they set off with no guarantees except an audience to play to and a trunk full of cd's to sell, filling spare dates on the internet at house concerts, folk clubs, and bars on myspace and youtube, oh and did I mention having a ball as they went. I got the chance to see them on that tour and can confirm the growing reputation as a live band is well justified, they are a rockin three piece, of consequence and consciousness, a thinking persons Elvis, Scotty and Bill perhaps.
This is the 3rd album and Ive been playing Gordie Tentrees on The Medicine Show since the first one, so I see myself qualified to say its easily the best one yet, all the strands of their appeal IE a love of blues, country, oldtimey, come together seamlessly with Gordies melancholy heart felt vocalisations blending into a mix that is un-mistakably their own. Tentrees is a vocalist in the same way Townes Van Zandt might have been, and none but the most rabid fan would describe Townes of being a great singer, Gordie voice however, I'm very please to say has a similar innate ability to illustrate emotion and his writing is blessed with the same sort of multileveled insight.
Get into Gordie Tentrees now and avoid the rush.
Review from Fred Eaglesmith Tour (CAN)
The concert kicked off with a strong set by Gordie Tentrees, who has been opening for the band on recent dates, and it is apparent to this listener that Tentrees has been working hard in the couple of years since he opened the same venue for Kelly Joe Phelps.
His ease and ability on resophonic slide guitar and rack mount harmonica suggest some serious time spent honing his craft; and the inclusion of an electrified stomp board lends authority to his steady tapping left foot. Good tunes with strong vocals and deft fingerpicking make for an enjoyable presentation and the addition of Eaglesmith's sidemen, Matty Simpson on electric guitar and Luke Stackhouse on string bass, to finish off Tentrees portion of the show was an added treat. Tentrees is a talent on the move, and moving in good company" Peterborough Examiner
NO DEPRESSION (US)
Tentrees delivery is so relaxed and unpretentious its impossible to not get drawn into his world. The title track "Mercy or Sin" with Jennie Sosnowski would not sound out of place on John Prines wonderful "In spite of ourselves" album.
SLAID CLEAVES (US)
There's some great stuff on his new CD…Gordie's new album shows considerable growth and originality and should put him in the top echelon of young songwriters coming up through the ranks today.
GURF MORLIX (US)
These songs are as real and dusty as any unpaved roads I've ever been on. I'm thinkin' the Yukon might have a lot in common with Texas."
ROUND UP REVIEW (UK)
Coming from the singer songwriter tradition with his roots in country blues and sounding like a young John Prine, Tentrees and his band play seductively with guitars licking and curling around his lyrics. At times they play dirty as on “Devil Talks” with ferocious guitar and stinging dobro but again the best is in the quieter moments where Tentrees and the band swing with a lazy nonchalance with a hint of menace in the tale.
PENGUIN EGGS (CAN)
I first saw Gordie Tentrees 6 years ago and in the intervening time he's put a lot of miles on the odometer, solidified his bond with sidemen Ken Hermanson and Matt King, and started staking out his own musical turf. Mercy or Sin produced by Bob Hamilton marks a milestone in Tentree's growth but does not err by polishing the rough edges that are so much of the music's charm.
The title track, a duet with co-writer and "live" bass player Jennie Sosnowski, exemplifies the record's strengths-unaffected lyrical musings, heartfelt performances, and the subtly driving accompaniment from the background players pointing to a hard-earned assurance and maturity.
R2 ROCK AND REEL MAG (UK)
Gordie Tentrees' third album is far from difficult; rather it's the one on which he finds his voice and style, and stakes his claim for a place on the first team."From the opening desolate steel guitar that leads off the tender homage to enduring relationships, 'Alfred', to the fading notes of the closing 'Ross River' in which a Native American heads for the big city 'trading fear for a different kind of ugly', Tentrees barely puts a foot wrong. His stripped down acoustic sound, driven by banjo and steel and underpinned by powerful walking acoustic bass is used to tell tales of life at his particular section of the musical coalface.
"Songs like 'Hey Mama', which might be overly sentimental in other hands, work in his because of his unadorned and palpable honesty, yet he can deliver the pit of despair that is 'Travelling Song Man' equally well. 'Same Olf Blues' simultaneously sends up the genre while paying homage to it in a furious workout, and his cover of Bert Jansch's 'Rambling's Gonna Be The Death of Me' bears comparison with the original.
AMERICANA MUSIC TIMES (US)
I sure wish I'd discovered Canadian GordieTentrees sooner, but, as they say, better late than never. Tentrees hits another home run with his new record, Mercy or Sin. Tentrees has a way of writing and performing that just oozes, as Stephen Colbert may say, truthiness. Maybe it's the banjo and dobro, maybe it's the gristly vocal style. I think it's all that, plus Tentrees's ability to capture the human condition in his songwriting. With songs like "No Integrity Man" and "Traveling Song Man" there it is -- beautifully composed and performed songs, no metaphors needed -- and the cover of Bert Jansch's "Rambling's Gonna Be the Death of Me," complete with wailing strings on the chorus, knocks me flat out. Dig deep and you will dig deeply, or just grab a cool one, sit back, relax, and enjoy.
NET RYTHMNS (UK)
Apparently his third album, I have to confess I’ve never previously encountered the Canadian singer-songwriter before, but this leaves me wanting to know more. Working with an assortment of musicians, including longtime band, multi-instrumentalist Ken Hermanson and double bassist Matt King, it’s a 12 track stripped down excursion into the darker side of the roots landscape and themes of death, mental illness, loss and despair, moving between bluegrass, folk, blues, and country. He’s been likened to Fred Eaglesmith and Kelly Joe Phelps, but you’ll also hear John Prine on the talk-sing opener Alfred and the side to side swaying Carpenter Girl while the hard rockabilly Same Old Blues shoots off Johnny Cash sparks.
The blues loom large throughout, cranked up again on slide guitar stomper Devil Talks, while, slide again making its presence felt, Travelling Song Man takes a steady striding swampy tempo and Blue Motel Room walks a spare but purposeful repetitive rhythm as its dusty delivery suggests a filtering of Chris Isaak and Townes Van Zandt.
A strings and harmonica lashed cover of Bert Jansch’s folk blues Rambling’s Gonna Be The Death Of Me proves a highlight and banjo picking bluegrass blooms robustly on No Integrity Man and the title track’s duet with Jennie Sosnowski. He lets a few flat notes slip past on Ross River, a wistful observation about the relationship between the Canadian government and the First Nation communities, but even so it’s these wearied reflective echoes of the 60s folk movement that see him playing to his very considerable strengths.
VUE WEEKLY (CAN)
There's no question that he means-and understands-every word that he sings and every note that he plays throughout his latest record. He's got a clear eye on the themes that run through southern roots music-death and desperation and damaged hearts abound-but Tentrees delivers everything he does with conviction. As far as deep roots go, it's hard to ask for much more than this"
Gordie Tentrees hails from the Yukon Territory in northern Canada, and his songs possess that slight difference of tone that makes some Canadian artists stick out from the crowd of their U.S. peers. It will surprise no one that he and his band have toured with Fred Eaglesmith, but Tentrees is far from being an Eaglesmith clone.
His gritty songs bear the stamp of personal experience – the less heart-wrenching is “Hey Mama”, telling of a single mother and her struggles to raise him and his three siblings, but that’s nothing compared with “Traveling Song Man”, the story of how his partner left him for another man while he was on tour. And then there’s “Daylight”, dedicated to “my family who fight the ebb and flow of mental illness and all that comes with it.”
But before everyone slits their wrists in despair, this is a beautiful album, the heavy ballads balanced with love songs and upbeat numbers. The title track, written and performed with Jennie Sosnowski, is a tale of love across the expanses of Canada’s mountains and prairies that will lighten any heart.
VOICE MAGAZINE (CAN)
If you’re a roots fan, and I know you are, Gordie Tentrees’s third album will bring you many hours of bliss. And don’t just give it one listen—it really does grow on you, transport you, even. These are aimless north country drifter songs, redolent of wood smoke, gasoline, pine needles, moss, beer, and river water, with lyrical substance and thoughtful, joyfully executed musical arrangements.
There is a virile energy in blues when it’s done right, a rugged, pared down, carnal essentiality by no means confined to the male sex. It can be tempting to put out too much of it and that’s when it loses its salience to become monotonous, but in this album the virility is part of a spectrum that also includes introspection, tenderness, fun country licks, and rollicking rhythms. The contrast is mutually advantageous.
Tentrees played four instruments on this one; vocals, guitar, dobro, and harmonica. Mercy or Sin manifests six of The Mindful Bard’s criteria for music well worth a listen: 1) it is authentic, original, and delightful; 2) it confronts existing injustices; 3) it displays an engagement with and compassionate response to suffering; 4) it inspires an awareness of the sanctity of creation; 5) it is about attainment of the true self; and 6) it provides respite from a sick and cruel world, a respite enabling me to renew myself for a return to mindful endeavour.