By Eric Alper.
The electrifying sound of blues-folk duo Blue Moon Marquee out of Cowichan Valley, British Columbia, is sure to make audiences jump out of their seats and dance with the latest upbeat single, “Hound Dog on a Chain”!
A harmonic synthesis of blues, jazz, rock n’ roll, and swing, the latest single comes from Blue Moon Marquee’s highly anticipated fifth studio album “Scream, Holler & Howl.” The album is a sophisticated collection of music that instantly transports listeners to places of sonic wonder.
“Hound Dog on a Chain” is a pulsating track dripping with equal parts style and substance. The song features emotive vocals by Badlands Jazz, a.k.a Jasmine Colette, and a Hammond solo from the supremely talented Darcy Phillips (Jann Arden). As approachable as the new single is, “Hound Dog on a Chain” is about the systems of oppression that continue to drive society further from happiness.
As the duo says, “Wake up to the realization that people have the power. We need to believe in that power and to believe in the people. The chain is taut. This hound dog is about to bust loose.”
Groovy licks and up-tempo percussion punctuate “Hound Dog on a Chain” and the urgency of the message about social patriarchy and the prioritization of profit and corporate greed over life.
“Go hoist a rag
Can’t stop what’s coming
Hey, can you believe it?
They trying for your head
Watch out they don’t snare ya
Rock the feint instead.”
The sensational new album “Scream, Holler & Howl” showcases the exceptional talent of some of Canada’s finest musicians. Co-produced by the legendary Duke Robillard (The Fabulous Thunderbirds / Roomful of Blues), the album also features the musical stylings of Darcy Phillips (Jann Arden) on piano and Jerry Cook (Colin James) on tenor and baritone saxophone.
The latest single is accompanied by a provocative black and white music video that visualizes the detached world we’re reeling through. Utilizing dazzling choreography and interpretive dance, the official music video for “Hound Dog on a Chain” was produced by Studio 549 and filmed on the unceded territory of the Lekwungen-speaking peoples.
Blue Moon Marquee writes and performs original compositions influenced by anything that swings, jumps or grooves. A.W. Cardinal and Jasmine Colette a.k.a. Badlands Jass (vocals/bass/drums) have played for a vast gamut of crowds at jazz clubs, Lindy Hop dance halls, folk venues, blues haunts, hospitals, prisons, markets, motorcycle joints, dive bars and prestigious festival stages.
Colette not only commands the upright bass but also brings the rhythm with her feet on a custom foot drum kit, all while singing in her signature honey-dipped tone. Cardinal’s distinctive and soulful vocals barrel out like a raging bull while his guitar crackles with the swinging energy of jazz-tinged blues.
The result of 9 years of rigorous touring, crisscrossing Europe and North America, is a distinct energy and style from this acclaimed duo. Carving a path through blues, jazz, jump jive, folk, country, swing, and Indigenous soul with an authentic spirit, their sound does not idle easily in one certain category. It stomps and struts through the wilds, conjuring a blend where Howlin’ Wolf tangos with Django, Earnest Tubb shoots firecrackers with Cab Calloway, and Memphis Minnie throws dice with Screamin’ Jay Hawkins.
Their gift is bringing all these elements together without anything sounding out of step. They collect the roots and smoothly braid them with lyrics that often touch on the underbelly of society, woven with elements of Indigenous storytelling and poetic cadence.
With their highly anticipated 5th album Scream, Holler & Howl (SHH), Blue Moon Marquee have captured their most sophisticated collection of songs yet. Co-produced by Duke Robillard and recorded live to tape, SHH blazes forward with a full band featuring some of Canada’s finest veteran players. While they have primarily performed as a duo since 2013, over the last couple of years they have been performing often as a trio or quartet with Darcy Phillips (Jann Arden) on piano and Jerry Cook (Colin James) on tenor and baritone saxophone.
With 2019’s Bare Knuckles and Brawn (BNAB), released on Spanish label FOLC Records, they were nominated as Blues Artist of the Year at the Western Canadian Music Awards and Indigenous Songwriter of the Year at the Canadian Folk Music Awards.
Appreciated for their lyrical candour, outstanding musicianship and vivacious live performances, Blue Moon Marquee was the most requested band in the country for the Canadian International Jazz Festival Circuit following their 2017 release Gypsy Blues.
It was in 2012 that they came together in Vancouver, B.C. to record Cardinal's original material for his album Stainless Steel Heart which he had written while living in Montreal. A mutual old friend was engineering the project and they connected deeply on their taste and obsession over music.
The vast repertoire of this band is a reflection of bounteous years on the road, experiencing life through a wide diversity of lenses. The result is their trademark blend that pulls the different parts of their musical worlds together, taking the tones of early blues, the expressions of jazz, the heart of country, the spirit of folk, the swagger of soul and the rhythm of roll. The way Colette's velvet tones lift Cardinal's mystique is something that enthralls audiences from backroom bars to festival stages.
Unbound by genre or era, Blue Moon Marquee has an edge that demands you take notice. With an authentic mixture of tempo, melody and imagery, they are timeless artists perfect for this time.