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OTTAWA AT HOME - Review
From left to right: John Witherspoon, Gerry Wall and Nigel Troop practicing their tunes during a mid-week rehearsal.
Jeans, t-shirt, bare feet, guitar draped across his body as he lounges on a couch,
fingers dancing over the strings. Gerry Wall seems worlds away, lost in his cocoon of music.
It's the look that seems to fit him best, though he'll admit to having to wear a suit once a month.
He'll even admit to having a PhD in Economics, though it's unlikely he'd ever ask anyone to address him as Dr. Wall.
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Ex Patriot's Day / Winter Grass ~ Catfish Rapids Music, Review
Gerry Wall is a prairie boy who made good. The Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada native eventually made his way to Toronto, squandering t
op-notch foosball skills on the way to a doctorate degree, but found his calling making music. A chance childhood encounter with
Joni Mitchell aside, Wall falls into the school of songwriting sometimes inhabited by folks such as Jackson Browne,
Josh Rouse, Bob Dylan and even, yes, Joni Mitchell. Today we'll be checking out two of Wall's albums, Winter Grass and Ex Patriot's Day. MORE>>>
"Some of the best music is by people you've never heard of. They might be trying to get your attention but,
let's face it, without the backing of a substantial record label their chances are slim. Here's a few picks from near obscurity that you might enjoy.
Gerry Wall apparently used to be Joni Mitchell's parent's paperboy in Saskatoon.
That alone ought to be enough to get his foot in the door of Capital Records. Check out his song "Cheticamp" from exPatriots' Day."
“Winter Grass”, Review
posted by Tom Osborne at twangville.com
He names the Jayhawks, Wilco, Mark Knopfler, Paul Kelly, J.J. Cale and Blue Rodeo as influences for Winter Grass, the third release from Ottawa’s Gerry Wall.
You can almost see, taste and hear the vistas painted in the lyrics of this 10-song release with songs titled “Winter Grass”
and “Willow Bluff”. Somehow these southeastern Canadian-born tunes sound remarkably like they were conceived in the southwestern US.
Adding to the colorful lyrics are coolly delivered harmonies and mostly acoustic instrumentation contributed by Dave Draves (Howe Gelb,
Kathleen Edwards), Jeremy Gara (Arcade Fire) and Jens Lindemann (Canadian Brass, UCLA Music faculty). A particular highlight
of the album are the lovely background vocals provided by Ana Muira. The album stays fresh with a good variety of songs and instrumental
experimentation. Start with “Light the Match”. If that suits you, move on to “Come Along”, “(Total) Domination”, “I Don’t Aim” and “Northbound”.
“Winter Grass”, Review
(Translation from Dutch)
A first listen did not immediately seduce me, although the voice of this Canadian from Hamilton Ontario
is definitely warm and captivating. Now, after more "turn table time" it is time to render a verdict, and it is a positive one.
Compare him somewhat with compatriots Shuyler Jansen and Paul Brill, while Robert Burke Warren also comes to my mind.
They all make music using sound gadgetry things. Not really my bag, but Gerry Wall does add these little "blips"
(such as keys, melodica ) in a tasteful and well measured fashion to the overall sound, just like above named singers.
With the help of Dave Draves ( Howe Gelb ) and Jeremy Gara ( Arcade Fire ), and also the female addition of Ana Miura ( vocals )
Gerry succeeds in making this third disc a good one.
It has variety and falls under, according to himself, Canadiana.
Influenced by americana, folk, roots, and jazz, indeed those styles are smartly woven into his ten songs.
Wall has found the right co writer in mate Graham Knight and knows how to use, aside from the "sounds",
dobro, banjo, lap steel and here and there some brass ( Jens Lindermann; Mike Schmidt ).
In his bio Wall tells that he would like to produce a few more CD's. While enjoying songs like Come Along (with Dave Draves on accordion), Light the Match (with a searing guitar solo by Wall himself) and the easy to listen to Poor Man's Train that is an intention that I can endorse. Track nine, I Don't Aim (with the pulsing drums of Jeremy Gara), proves this thesis. Winter Grass is a relaxed, cool disc. (Leo Kattestaart)
3 ½ horses out of 5.
Gerry Wall - Winter Grass (Translated from Dutch) ReviewJan Janssen)
The Canadian singer songwriter Gerry Wall does not agree with the thesis that only full time artists have
something worthwhile to say in their songs. He believes that the internet can be the key to the return
of creative music that independently finds its way to the critical listener. I could not have translated
this more independently and there is some truth to it. Being a pioneer has always been a passion of mine.
One walks into a record store, rummages around in the CD display tables and retrieves something from there
that attracts ones attention. It all seems somewhat passed tense but the internet is now my mega CD record store.
With my mouse I roam around several web sites and sniff in their show tables.
This same Gerry Wall surprised me
thus, recently, with his third CD Winter Grass. The man wrote, together with a friend, a brother in law,
canoeing and camping mate and advisor Graham Knight, the delicious pop-rock songs on this carefully prepared digipack.
The well chosen beautiful melodies are especially well supported on the title track and opener of this album by
very fine trombone playing of one Mike Smith. Gerry Wall is not worried to smith modern loops and the necessary programming into his songs.
Willow Bluff combined with a traditional slide and dobro groove is one of the examples of that. In the tracks Come Along and Half the Battle
one Jens Lindemann handles the dirty trumpet. I don't know what such a trumpet looks like but it sounds good. There also are very well done
back up vocals by one Ana Miura and Wall's mate Graham Knight.
Beautiful music that makes you think of Prefab Sprout and Deacon Blue by its
musical mood pallet that, I am sure of it, will be discovered by the listener.
Returning Fire ***1/2
Gerry Wall (Independent)
A reflective, often obscure, album, Returning Fire is the second release by Ottawa’s Gerry Wall.
In it, Wall ponders issues great and small, from the self-congratulatory egos of the wealthy and
the self-righteous jealousy of the rest of us to the sanctity of motherhood, the precariousness of
love and, in one particularly elliptical song, the election of a new pope.
Wall has a light, pleasing voice that adapts readily to the pop- and country-tinged melodies,
moves easily from warm engagement to a knowing distance, and focuses the listener’s attention on
the lyrics (all the songs were written by Wall and Graham Knight).
Local producer Jon Park-Wheeler shares honours with Wall for the tasteful, low-key production,
and plays guitar and mandolin.
January 31, 2004 (Saturday)
Returning Fire, “Your Fabulous Life”, Review
Smoothness Covering the Walls
Damn, I gotta say this is smooth. The reason is because its so damn smooth, so smooth it cuts! Then the lyrics come
out from no where, talking to you as if your supposed to join, so I had a conversation with the song and
I found out we made great friends.
—DelanoGrove from Orange County NY, New York - Garageband
Returning Fire, “Last Chance”, Review
Just About Perfect
Great feel to this song… reminds of Pousette Dart band… easy to listen to…
with an understated motion to it… relentless and moves towards the end like a tide coming…
just got a little chill on this one… saying its good doesn’t do it justice… would like to
hear more… will look you up after this review is over… good job.
—MakWolven from The Hague, Netherlands
Returning Fire,“Praying Now”, Review
Well, what can you say. From the opening note this performance is so engaging.
Backing tracks are spot on and well-balanced. Guitar, especially, is extremely
well played. Lead vocals have a JT type quality (early JT) yet they
have carved out an original space all on their own. Overall mood is very David Wilcox (if you don’t know him
—absolutely check him out) Lyrical narrative is emotionally perfect and original. I particularly like the car/heart hook
—very memorable. Just the right amount of angst in the honey-smooth vocals to create a really beautiful song.
—courtneyjonesmusic from Pacific, Northwest - Garageband.com