Western Canada-based indie folk collective Bent Roads Tavern have today released Let’s Go To Newfoundland as the first track from their forthcoming album Clear Nights. Brite Lites.
“Our goal is simply to celebrate Canada: the land, the culture and the musicians who have inspired us.” That is how Collen Middleton (guitarist and vocalist) describes Bent Roads Tavern and their new album Clear Nights. Brite Lites. That goal is best illustrated by Let’s Go To Newfoundland,” the first track to be released from the forthcoming album.
“It was the first song that I brought to the band,” recalls Middleton. “I was a big fan of Great Big Sea, Newfoundland’s native sons, so this was sort of a shoutout to that corner of my musical tastes. When I was growing up, my dad always talked about going on a family holiday to Newfoundland, which we never did. The dream of that trip never died in me and eventually turned into a song. I still hope to make it there one day.”
Recording their new album proved to be a unique challenge and COVID pandemic was not the only hurdle for the band. With members living and working in different cities across Canada and in the UK, tracks needed to be recorded separately and sent to Middleton in Calgary to assemble and then forwarded to a producer for a final mix. In the case of Let’s Go To Newfoundland,” that producer was Michael Philip Wojewoda, best known for his work with Barenaked Ladies, Great Big Sea and the Rheostatics among many others. Working with Wojewoda was a dream come true for Bent Roads Tavern who are fervent fans of so many of the artists he has produced over the years. Of the master recording, Wojewoda enthuses, “the song sounds ragged and kinda risky. Like a messy painting.”
Let’s Go To Newfoundland is the first of several tracks to be released over the coming months leading up to the release of Clear Nights. Brite Lites. later this year.
“We wanted it to sound like it could have been recorded in a kitchen party on a fishing trawler off the coast of Newfoundland” says Middleton, adding, “we worked tirelessly through late nights to create an atmosphere that rides those swelling dark blue waves of the Atlantic.”
About Bent Roads Tavern
This might be the first you’re hearing of Bent Roads Tavern but they are a musical collective with a storied past. Originally formed in the early 2000’s at the University of British Columbia and led by songwriters Collen Middleton (vocals and guitar) and Christian Stokkmo (vocals and guitar), the original seven-piece band helped local club owners sell a lot of beer while building an enthusiastic following for their eclectic mix of punk, modern jazz and folk music.
In 2003, Bent Roads Tavern played what turned out to be the final performance for the original group after which both Middleton and Stokkmo left Vancouver for separate personal journeys. The band continued to perform with new members for a number of years before finally dissolving.
In 2019, word reached the former band members that Christian Stokkmo had passed away at the early age of 38. The news came just a few years after the passing of original bassist Bradley Dean at the age of 33. The surviving musicians came together to pay tribute to their lost comrades by re-recording some of their old favourites and releasing the new recordings as well as dusting off the files of some old (poorly recorded) demos of the original band. In 2020, Bent Roads Tavern fans (Bent Heads) rejoiced at the release of the subsequent five volume set The Legend Of Bent Roads Tavern. The reception they received inspired the group, including members from all eras of BRT, to begin working on a brand new album featuring re-recordings of old favourites and new written material.