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  • Writer's pictureThe Sound Cafe

Canadian Art-Rock Country Rock Collective Hot Mondy Shine Through With 'Pale Ember' And Debut Album

By Eric Alper.

With an all-star production, video, and contributing roster, to boot, Canadian art-rock country collective Hot Mondy seize an all-new and outside-the-box creative license to write and record their first single, “Pale Ember,” and breakthrough debut self-titled EP — available now! Helping to hone Hot Mondy’s exploration of sound for the release was multi-JUNO winning producer Michael Philip Wojewoda (Barenaked Ladies, Rheostatics, Great Big Sea, The Jerry Cans); the band and Wojewoda came together at Toronto’s Revolution Recording in early 2020 to track songs, but that was all they could get done for a while... The band had just returned to Halifax after initial tracking when the COVID-19 pandemic shut the whole country down for well over a year. “It was both fun and challenging figuring out how to finish the EP during Covid,” the band recalls, “but it informed many of our choices in a really interesting way.” The band also called on a variety of top talent to complete the album; in addition to friend and collaborator Loel Campbell of Wintersleep on drums, lap steel player Christine Bougie (Bahamas), singer/songwriter Claire Coupland (vocals), fiddler Kendal Carson (Matt Mays, Alan Doyle), pianist Rob Preuss (Spoons, Honeymoon Suite), and GRAMMY/JUNO Award-nodded violinist/arranger Drew Jurecka (Jeff Healey, Dua Lipa) all added their talents as well. A dramatic look back at the ashes of a flamed-out romance — and first unveiling of the release — “Pale Ember'' ranges from quiet recollection to an emotional roar as the Halifax-based collective puts their finest talents on display. An exciting mélange of wide-open country, soulful blues and raw rock ‘n’ roll, the song sets the tone for Hot Mondy — an album they describe as a “genre-bending exploration of country, rock and roots, wrapped in a cinematic universe.”

‘She stood at the end, whispered, “Surrender”

The fire we burned to a pale ember

Cause I lived on the road while she lived with herself

Trying to forget what I don’t remember’

The video for “Pale Ember” features additional high-profile talents: dancers Kelli Baker (So You Think You Can Dance, High School Musical), and Chris Jarosz (Broadway’s Wicked, LaLa Land, In the Heights) in an alternating graceful and powerfully intense exchange, Choreographed by Bonnie Story (High School Musical), the video was directed by Imagine That Films’ Brad Tobler (Stranger Things) — who is also creating a full visual album for all six tracks across the EP. Just one glance at the Halifax-based band’s to-the-point social media bio, “Hot Mondy makes music,” tells you what they’re all about — while still leaving it up to the listener to draw their own stylistic conclusion. But what is Hot Mondy, really? Formed in 2019, Hot Mondy are Matt Rhind (lead vocals), Travis Flint (guitar and lead vocals), Troy Arseneault (lead guitar), Mat Budreski (rhythm guitar), and Matt Brannon (Bass, lyricist) — a collaboration by five friends who started performing classic outlaw country music, each passionate about songwriting, and deeply varied in musical backgrounds. This is a band, not a brand, and to illustrate how serious they are about the quality of their music, Hot Mondy is offering a 48K/24-bit high resolution edition of their eponymous album, as well as both 33 and 45rpm 180g vinyl mastered by Nashville’s heralded Ryan Smith at Sterling Sound. While they’ve already written and recorded 13 more tracks for a full sophomore slated for release next year, “Pale Ember” and Hot Mondy are proof positive straight out of the gate that these East Coast outlaws are in residence, and have taken the time to settle in, get comfortable, and decorate the rooms.



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