“Just because your eyes are open, doesn’t mean you can see.”
It was an unpretentious scene on the Brass Monkey stage Valentine’s Day evening – a modest drum kit, a collection of acoustic guitars, and a slightly dishevelled looking three-quarter upright bass leaning against the wall. But when these three men got up to play their instruments, they took us on a musical odyssey of emotionally written songs, meandering through peaks and valleys of rhythms, tempos, and textures.
My Favourite Tragedy, founded in 2009 by songwriter, North Easton, began as a tribute to his mother, who was a major inspiration on his musical life, but sadly lost her battle with lung cancer in 2007. North describes the experience of tragedy as a life changing event that will either debilitate you, or break you out of where you were and essentially lift you up…hence, how the band‘s name was conceived. The emotionally stirring, “Yellow Sun”, from the 2011 CD, A World Of Quiet Talk, was written in his mother’s memory, with her message of following one’s heart. The song begins quietly, with North’s long vocal sustains that pierce the heart, then crescendos into a beautiful lushness that for me, was very reminiscent of early seventies Genesis.
“Little More Time”, also played that night from the same album, is an energetic piece mixed with highs and lows, and speaks of the importance of living in the moment. “Chase”, another piece born from family experience, describes as a parent (and a father of six), having to let go of the chase and allow your children to experience things for themselves, even if they stumble. The show ended with the popular, “Like This” – an infectious, powerfully rhythmic piece that takes you from a meditative Indian mode intro, into a soaring Celtic swamp that had me unable to stay in my seat.
North’s partnership with bassist John Marc Desmarais was a natural compliment that added all the right touches to elaborate his song writing. Finding the right percussionist was hit and miss until John suggested to let his brother, Phil Desmarais sit in on a rehearsal one night. Phil remembers how the music hit him instantaneously, the interpretation was effortless, and from then on, it was pure magic. The three have created music which is incredibly textured, and their ability to play off of each other the way they do, is something rarely seen.
My Favourite Tragedy has released two CD‘s, A World Of Quiet Talk (2011), which comes complete with a marvellously put together booklet of photos, song lyrics, and poetry; and My Favorite Christmas (2013), a collection of songs inspired by past Christmas family gatherings, and fittingly gift-wrapped. Plans for a third album are ready to go for the Summer of 2014. Do yourself a grand favour and purchase their music. Do yourself even a bigger one and go see them.