Dime at a Time
Lorrie Matheson: A Dime At A Time He's been called upon by MuchMusic to guide a tour of the Calgary music scene. He's played in much-loved, much-storied bands like Fire Engine Red and National Dust, who play "one last gig" just often enough to create rabid new devotees. He's played dingy rock clubs, acoustic music rooms and huge outdoor stages. He's been invited to internationally renowned festivals such as the Calgary Folk Festival, the Dawson City Music Festival, North By Northeast, The Halifax Pop Explosion and New Music West. He's shared stages with the likes of the Violent Femmes, Wilco and countless artists between those two extremes. He can make you laugh one minute, cry the next, and flip the bird to "the man" a little while later. He has no fear of saying what he means, whether it's an acerbic stab at political tomfoolery or a simple love song to a spouse or a parent. For singer-songwriter Lorrie Matheson, it's all in a day's work, and the payoff is A Dime At A Time. It's hard to imagine where Calgary's musical scene would be today if the young Matheson hadn't decided to pull up his Saskatchewan roots and settle down in the Alberta foothills. The mid-90s found him pounding out what one reviewer called "dream-crusher rock" in the dynamic trio Fire Engine Red, whose 1995 album 1530 is an unforgettable mix of driving riffs, sardonic commentary and aching, bittersweet melodies. 1530 spawned the single "Shank Pony," which snuck it's way into the rotation on MuchMusic to garner the band fans across Canada. After Fire Engine Red called it a day, Matheson spent some time in the Edmonton-based rock ensemble Pal Joey, but he couldn't stray far from Cowtown for long.... A rootsier element blended with the rock edge in Matheson's next project, National Dust. The band put out two well-received albums: 1998's Blind Luck...Ain't No Luck At All and 2000's Welcome To Utopia, which spawned the biting blue-collar anthem and Alberta radio hit "Before You Wear The Grindstone Down." After helping out former Fire Engine Red mate James Hayden on Hayden's 2001 Thousandsticks project (resulting in the White Knuckled Midnight Drives album), Matheson began his foray into a solo career in 2002 with the release of You Should Know By Now. From the Brill Building pop of the title track to the flat-out rock of "Out Of The Sun", from the simple emotion of "Darken My Door" to the sheer grandeur of "Drive Blind", You Should Know... had all the hallmarks of the classic singer-songwriter albums: honesty, poetry, beauty. Matheson's 2002 and 2003 performances were often joined by The Yorkton Spokes, a prairie-rock supergroup featuring former members of National Dust and Zuckerbaby. The 2004 release A Dime At A Time is Matheson's second solo project. Recorded at his home studio and at the fabled Sundae Sound Studios, A Dime At A Time sees Matheson coming into his own as a multi-instrumentalist, a producer, a vocalist, and a writer, creating more textured arrangements and more nuanced songs. Yet with this growing confidence comes a sense of playfulness, aided and abetted by enormously skilled young percussionist Chris Dadge (Bent Spoon Ensemble). It's a combination of maturation and rejuvenation that produces not only the most fully developed songs that Matheson has ever written, but also some of the most honest, most insightful, and most memorable. "if the city of Calgary were to name a minstrel laureate, Matheson's name would surely come forward..." edmontonplus. Ca "...one of the best songwriters this city has seen..."The Calgary Sun "...no-one is as skilled... at turning a cliché inside out..." FFWD Weekly.