It was no surprise to note the good sound at the album release gig of Toronto roots favourites Rattlesnake Choir at Toronto's Dakota Tavern. You see, RC mainman John Borra is the regular sound guy at the popular live music spot. The album in question, The Prospector's Curse, is now out on Cameron House Records, and is the group's third, following 2008's Live Music and 2011's Walkin' the Wire.
There's an unconventional back story to the album, for the project was initially intended as the soundtrack to a Western meets horror movie directed by T.O. film-maker Josh Hiese. Those instrumental tracks were then supplemented by new lyric-driven songs, such as first single "Slow Sad Blues".
Both the atmospheric instrumentals and Borra's folk-country songs impressed at the well-attended showcase. Borra's comrades in RC, Sam Ferrara (percussion, slinky), Tony Benattar (bass, dobro), Miranda Mulholland (violin) and Michael Boguski (piano, accordion), are a well-seasoned posse with highly impressive pedigrees that include such groups as The Ugly, A Neon Rome, Viletones, Change Of Heart, The Mahones, Groovy Religion, Blue Rodeo, Great Lake Swimmers, and many more. Mulholland's membership in Great Lake Swimmers meant she was playing a gig in Europe last night, but the Choir remained in harmony here.
Spied enjoying proceedings were Viletones mainman Steve Leckie, musician Steve Mahabir (Groovy Religion, Angel in Parkdale), studio mixing/mastering ace Peter Moore (Cowboy Junkies, the recent Bob Dylan and the Band The Basement Tapes Complete hit box set), and musician/bar owner Paul Emery (Bill Puddle, The Dickens). Emery owns renowned watering hole The Communist's Daughter, and John Borra and Sam Ferrara are now in the 11th year of a weekly Sunday residency there.