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REVIEWS

"An album full of heart and homespun wisdom"

- Bob Mersereau (CBC) 

"Another Canadian showing us how to write great Americana Songs"

- ROCKING MAGPIE

GRIT REVIEWS (2018)

 "After over a decade of being road warriors, this freak folk duo debuts on wax with a live album of tracks culled from various dates that really rocked. An organic, back porch duo that owes a debt to the leftists of the lefties, here's where you turn if you lean more toward Holy Modal Rounders than Kingston Trio. As organic and holistic as folk gets, this is the wild sound of freedom and the freedom to fly" Midwest Record, USA

 

"With hundreds of live shows under their belts, their debut album "GRIT" clearly illustrates the depth of commitment and passion they bring to the table. The track listing includes co-writes, a Fred Eaglesmith collaboration and a great version of a Willie P Bennett tune. Each song is given full treatment by this talented duo bringing on every colour imaginable" London Scene, CAN

If I had to make a comparison I would say Gordie Tentrees is a cross between Corb Lund and Stompin’ Tom Connors. Much like Corb Lund, Gordie has a writing style all his own, and much like Stompin Tom, I can imagine him playing anywhere – honky tonks, beer joints, large theaters or stadiums – and commanding the stage and crowd with his honesty, humor, and storytelling. Talent is talent, and it’s clear when it comes to songwriting, Gordie Tentrees has oodles to spare" ROOTS MUSIC CANADA

LESS IS MORE REVIEWS (2015)

 

“Very superior songs on a terrific album, heartfelt and hysterical”

R2 Mag (5 Stars) 

 

“Majestic songwriting, genuine authenticity, incredible insight”

Americana UK 

 

“Sounds like an album Woody Guthrie or Bob Dylan might have done if they were starting out today” (4/5 Stars) Irish Post 

 

“Another Canadian showing us how to write great Americana Songs”

Rocking Magpie Read More Here

Short Version

Look for a new record in 2017!


“Majestic songwriting, genuine authenticity, incredible insight”Americana UK

 

“A lean, tough disc that the listener will want to dip into again and again”

Penguin Eggs Read More Here

 

“An album full of heart and homespun wisdom”

Bob Mersereau (CBC) Read More Here

 

 

NORTH COUNTRY HEART REVIEWS (2012)

 

“This is the fifth album by a man who really should be a household name thanks to the excellence of his vocal and writing skills and his ability to create atmospheres and arrangements perfectly suited to his writing, something not all great singer songwriters are able to master” Americana UK Read the full review here

 

“Tentrees has created a cohesive collection of images and sounds that hits emotional marks without resorting to manipulation. Heard without advance warning, one could be convinced that this is the new Corb Lund or Hayes Carll album and not be a bit disappointed” Read the review here

 

“The Whitehorse-based musician has been at it for a while now, and continues to demonstrate his skill as a storyteller” Review from Gray Owl Point

 

“With North Country Heart, Gordie Tentrees has joined an increasingly long list of Canadians who are, somewhat strangely, making some of the most honest Americana music today” Review from Pop Matters

 

 

MERCY OR SIN REVIEWS (2010)

 

“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” No Depression

 

“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” Slaid Cleaves

 

“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” GURF MORLIX

 

“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” ROUND UP REVIEW

 

“The concert kicked off with a strong set by Gordie Tentrees, who has been opening for the band (Fred Eaglesmith) 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. Killer songs with strong vocals and deft fingerpicking make for a stellar show, Tentrees is a talent on the move, and moving in good company” PETERBOROUGH EXAMINER -Live Concert Review

 

” 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” PENGUIN EGGS

 

“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”

R2 ROCK AND REEL MAG

 

“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” AMERICANA MUSIC TIMES

 

“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” NET RYTHMNS

 

“ 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” VUE WEEKLY

 

“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” BACKROADS

 

“If you’re a roots fan, 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 endeavor.” VOICE MAGAZINE

 

 

BOTTLENECK TO WIRE REVIEWS (2007)

 

“Tipped troubadour Gordie Tentrees emerges from the Yukon, full of strong songwriting, hickish hoots, and stir-crazy laments. Tunes,carried by his resonater guitar and aided by pedal steel, banjo, fiddle and blow harps, are often darker than a Whitehorse winter- yet never remorse, not even close.In the rough-cut vein of Fred Eaglesmith or Kelly Joe Phelps,Tentrees is gifted” Brad Wheeler GLOBE & MAIL

 

“Gordie Tentrees new album is a landmark album.If there is justice in this business, years from now we may be looking back and talking about the recording that brought this Canadian singer songwriter to the forefront of his genre.The songs are dark, the melodies haunting,the voice brooding all meshed together with sophisticated instrumentation that marries acoustic guitar,harmonica, cello, steel guitar and an angelic, harmonic chorus. This is not a one listen album, this is an album that reveals new sides at every turn. He paints the characters with broad strokes, yet amazing detail.A true songwriter can bring his subjects to life with minimal expendature of lyrical real estate. Tentrees is a true songwriter” Bill Hurley AMERICAN MEDIA GUIDE

 

“This is how to write an album folks, this is something to be struck mute about- One of the many rancid tentacles of bubblegum country is the tendency for its singers to actually purchase invented and thus meaningless folk parables. Just another dent in their endlessly polished veneer. Over and over, it’s songs about fictional soldiers, unfaithful husbands and hardworking folks who don’t actually exist. I wish I could swear in here sometimes. The thing I like best about Yukon’s Gordie Tentrees is his habit of putting specific events to music and lyrics. The country-blues driven folk is well played and catchy, but you also come away from it having learned something, which leads to an emotional reaction. Take 2 Sons, which Tentrees wrote likely on account of having a pair of his own. It’s the tale of a woman who had to choose which child she would save as the tsunami hit Asia a few years back. Her strength could only go so far and there was a moment where she had to pick which of her offspring would live, which would struggle alone against waves as heavy as mountains. “A big smack in the sky brought the wave, let down the rain, took away my name.” Imagine it. Yet it happened and it’s enough to be struck mute about. On the Steve Earle-ish Death & Dust, Tentrees ballads about his best friend being shot to death by another friend’s father. The man claimed he was defending his property but, as Tentrees puts it, “retracted his claim by taking his life soon after.” Man. “Death and dust at your door,” the chorus goes. The accolades could go on. These gems aren’t all snapshots of the scorpion’s heart, mind you. There’s a Corb Lund-like fishing song with lots of steel-bent strings, plus a nice love song at the end. Tentrees digs deep into the blues a few times, but I like it when he’s doing straight and vintage Americana. But this is how to write an album, people. Go through hell, feel for it in others and make a document. The language is simple but the feelings are delightfully genuine in these tales from the northern edge of civilization” Fish Griwkowsky PENGUIN EGGS

 

“Another talented Canadian you need to investigate. I have discovered a new musical genre: ‘Yukon roots music’. And Gordie Tentrees is an ‘ambassador’. I’d never heard of ‘Yukon Roots’ music till I listened to his new album, BOTTLENECK TO WIRE. I didn’t even know where the Yukon is (to my eternal shame). Having looked at a map I can now tell you that it is a Territory in North West Canada, with a population of about 30,000. His fellow Yukoners describe him as: ‘The country-rock-a-billy- folk-blues sound mixed with no-nonsense lyrics, harmonies and multi-instrumentation’. So you see why I find it hard to see his sound as something only the Yukon could ever produce? However,he is a phenomenon and it’s a shame that he has had so little coverage in the UK. He does create a unique sound that dips in and out of folk and acoustic blues. His use of the Dobro and crafting of songs is wonderful. For instance, the song Farm Boy opens with some bluesy slide guitar work to be immediately accompanied by banjo and harmonica. It is great to listen to a record that oozes talent from the songwriting to the playing, to the arranging and to the mixing.Elsewhere in the industry, the art of great music seems to have somehow taken a backseat. Most record companies are trying to take music somewhere else.They are signing up some real talentless singers and songwriters whose output baffles me. Gordie Tentrees is the exception and by far the best album I have listened to for some time. He is supported by the Yukon Sound Recording Program, which has been established to encourage music in Yukon. He is also receiving sponsorship from Air North, Yukon’s airline. I have no doubt that someone like Sony/BMG will offer him lots of money and take his record global. The album opens with Plenty to Hold, about being an itinerant musician. Gordie is a hardened touring musician who has done over 400 gigs in the past 2 years (according to his web site). This song gets to the heart of the problem: it’s lonely out on the road, especially when you sometimes play to empty venues ‘when the sound man and the waitress are your only fans’. The title track Bottleneck to Wire is a beautiful tribute to slide guitar, ‘a sound I wish I could hear longer’. The arrangement includes some fine backing vocals from Casey Smith and wonderful slide guitar and harmonica. Everton McEwan is a renowned Canadian boxer with 87 knockouts to his credit. 87 Men celebrates this.This song is a good old sentimental romp, a tribute to a Canadian legend who Gordie knows personally. The rest of songs are about seeing caribou drive trucks (because living in the remote Canadian countryside drives you nuts), the Tsunami and other personal tragedies in many guises. Fishing Fool is my favourite. I am great fan of slide guitar and this is an up-tempo piece that gives Gordie an opportunity to shine. His guitar style moves from finger picking on an ordinary acoustic guitar to using slide on a Dobro. He also plays a mean harp(harmonica). Jaxon Haldane needs a special mention. His banjo playing is awesome! Coming (I think) from Winnipeg, Jaxon is an accomplished band- leader, with a few rave albums to his credit as part of the D.Rangers. Gordie’s album has opened up a whole new vista for me, on Canadian music and the Yukon way of life. Thank you, Gordie. You can catch him touring British Columbia, Yukon and Ontario in the summer.Hopefully, he will be back in the UK, soon! ” MAVERICK MAGAZINE 5/5 Stars (UK)

 

“ Solid, superior, rural storytelling- Gordie Tentrees second album is a stripped down affair. Although he has a full band with him, a lot of the time it’s just his acoustic and desolate steel that you hear accompanying his world weary tales, with the rhythm section sounding almost apologetic for intruding. When they’re allowed free rein though, as on the rollicking “Bottle Fever”, they groove and swing with the best. Tentrees tills similar ground to Slaid Cleaves, but where Cleaves tells his tales fairly straight, Tentrees takes a step aside and moves his characters into more everyman territory. He’s an up and down writer, either higher than a kite flown from Mount Everest (“Bottle Fever”, “Fishing Fool”) or shovelling at the bottom of the Marianas Trench (“Death and Dust”, “Farm Boy”). He also offers two no regrets takes on that hoariest of subjects, the musician’s lot, and an uplifting, Sophie’s Choice but with a happy ending, tsunami tale “Two Sons”. There’s a general rural groove to the music, that sitting on the porch thing, but with more oomph and style than a lot of similar offerings. Overall good solid stuff, with the promise of better things to come” Americana (UK)

 

“Opening with a somber farewell to an old musician friend–”he always said in a place like this/there are wicked ways to go/you can freeze to death half a mile out of town/take your last breath in the snow” (“Bottleneck to Wire“) through meditations on family (“Farm Boy,” “Two Sons“) and violence (“Death & Dust“) you get a sense that this young Yukon country-blues singer has already seen a fair amount of life. It spills over in the same way as Fred Eaglesmith’s lyrics do–in telling vignettes weaved through banjos, blues and lap steel, good times bumping into bad, the woozy drunkard’s grin barely hiding sober 3 in the morning reflection, awesome depth to these songs filled with some sweet sounds” SEE MAGAZINE (CAN)

 

 

29 LOADS OF FREIGHT REVIEWS (2004)

 

“Gordie Tentrees is a musical force to be reckoned with no matter where he hails from” NNNN 4/5 Brent Raynor NOW Magazine

 

“In the 5 years that I have covered this festival (CMW), I can’t recall any band that I was sadder to see leave the stage than the Gordie Tentrees Band” Rob Kingston CHART ATTACK

 

“The good spirit of Fred Eaglesmith is truly with them, the Gordie Tentrees Band speaks a language that is welcome in these parts” Lone Tony Joe Austrailia Roots ‘n Blues

 

“A debut that is notably alt-country songs with strong melodies, with tasteful instrumentation and intense lyrics from frontman Gordie Tentrees” **** 4/5 stars Freddy Celis ROOTS TIME MAG

 

“One of the most exciting bands in Canadian roots music has crafted a memorable album of country flavoured roots tunes that are as fresh as mountain air” Al Beeber LETHBRIDGE HERALD

 

“This is an eclectic gumbo of Americana showing great promise”Americana UK