Show Review: Daniel, Fred and Julie

Coming into the evening, I wasn’t that familiar with Fred Squire. I knew that he had been a member of the awesome alt-country outfit Shotgun and Jaybird. After that group broke-up, my takeaway had always been, “Shotgun Jimmie sure is awesome.” I don’t think anyone could blame me for that either; Shotgun’s output after the disbandment has included full-lengths The Onlys and Still Jimmie, two great albums, as well as Paint It Pink, which ranks as one of the best EPs ever released in Canada in my mind.

But Squire easily proved that his awesomeness rivals that of his band members in Daniel, Fred and Julie – or at least he’s keeping up. He proved just that at their show, last night at the Club.

Check out a review of their show after the jump.

Julie Doiron and Daniel Romano are both reasonably established in the Canadian music scene. Doiron has been a sure-bet for years, releasing amazing solo records as well as playing bass for such bands as Eric’s Trip and the aforementioned Shotgun and Jaybird.

Attack in Black, Romano’s main project, made a big splash when they released their Dine Alone Records debut, Marriage, back in 2007. The course of Attack in Black was probably what eventually led to the formation of Daniel, Fred and Julie. The band developed strong connections with acts across Canada, including members of the Constantines and Shotgun Jimmie. They also released a bunch of material, including another full-length in 2007, The Curve of the Earth.

So, what’s a band with a bunch of buddies who’ve all got creativity coming out the seams to do? Start a label, of course.

You’ve Changed Records, since it formed in 2009, has put out albums by Baby Eagle and Shotgun Jimmie, a split record between Baby Eagle and Attack in Black, a solo record from Romano, and, of course, the debut, self-titled release from Daniel, Fred and Julie.

Daniel, Fred and Julie is a project that might not have been released on any other label. Three friends getting together to investigate traditional folk sounds, with nothing more than two guitars and three sets of vocals, isn’t necessarily the hippest proposition.

Thank God You’ve Changed are around to release it, and last night’s concert perfectly illustrated why.

After an opening set from Romano, the three took the stage. Squire and Romano were both sporting guitars, while Doiron, who was sporting a leg brace, rocked a stool in a microphone. At various points throughout the set, two members left the stage, leaving each of them with a turn to play a few songs solo.

No matter how many people were on stage, their humour was showcased just as much as their music. Squire was mostly taken with saying beaux mots just off mic, while Romano seemed more like the foil who was concerned with actually concerned with advancing the evening. (His role was welcome, too, as the band was late out of Calgary and the show went especially for a Sunday night.)

Doiron’s brand of conversational humour was charming as anything. The one line I took special note of was “We’re just doing our thing, you know. [Pause] Music.” On record, she can be emotionally devasting; live, she’s disarming and captivating.

Their personal chemistry translated well into a fun musical experience, something their live show has in common with the record. They all sincerely love this old style of folk, and the content of the music they’ve cooked up works with their aesthetic. Again, we have You’ve Changed Records to thank for making sure a band like this has a record widely available and on the road.

Author: James Brotheridge

Contributing Editor with Prairie Dog.