The Sound Cafe
Edmonton Alt-Country Legends, Jr. Gone Wild, To Release First Album In 25 Years
By Jason Schneider.
As anticipation continues to build for the Nov. 12 release of Jr. Gone Wild's Still Got The Jacket, their first album in over 25 years, the Edmonton alt-country legends are sharing two more tracks as a double single, "Five Million Songs" and "Southern Cross".
From 1983-1995, Jr. Gone Wild helped introduce Canada to a new musical genre, alternative country. Over the course of five acclaimed albums, the Edmonton, Alberta band fused elements of folk and rock with a punk attitude, while building a devoted fan base through epic live shows.
Now, original members Mike McDonald (guitars/vocals), Steve Loree (lead guitar) and Dave “Dove” Brown (bass) have reunited with McDonald’s nephew Quinton Herbert on drums for Still Got The Jacket, an album that incredibly sounds as if no time has passed. Over the course of 16 tracks, Still Got The Jacket burns with the old fire, while at the same time offering a fresh lyrical perspective that’s a product of hard-earned experience.
Ahead of the album’s joint release through (weewerk) and Stony Plain Records, the band previously shared the power pop-infused “Girl In The Crowd” and a spot-on cover of the Chilliwack classic “Fly At Night.” Now, with "Five Million Songs" and "Southern Cross," the twangy side of Jr. Gone Wild comes to the fore.
Mike McDonald says, "'Five Million Songs' is basically about how maybe that thing I've been trying to build all these years is finished. 'Southern Cross' is a Beat Farmers song written by guitarist Joey Harris. Jr Gone Wild met The Beat Farmers years ago in Ottawa, and since then have played many shows together and remained in touch. This song made the list because we feel it suits us and it’s really fun to play."
The seeds of a Jr. Gone Wild revival were planted in 2013 when the members agreed to do a short run of shows. The enthusiastic response led to more shows, as well as new songs taking shape. Sadly, drummer Larry Shelast died from a heart attack in 2019, but with Herbert taking over the kit, the band hunkered down in Loree’s studio and recorded Still Got The Jacket during the summer of 2020. On one hand, there was a sense of things coming full circle, but on the other hand it was apparent to everyone that a new, exciting chapter was just beginning.
Upon hearing Still Got The Jacket, there is little doubt Jr. Gone Wild sound as vital as they ever have. Part of that came from knowing exactly what they
wanted to capture on tape for the first time, while their other primary motivation was to exceed the expectations of the loyal listeners in Canada and around the world who have kept Jr. Gone Wild’s legacy alive.