At just 19, Selkirk’s Lyzie Burt is the newest in a long line of singer-songwriters to tackle the craft in Winnipeg’s music scene, as well as contributing vocals to incredible buzz-worthy bands such as Blisters, Zoppa and Little House.
So what sets her apart from the rest?
For starters, Cigarettes and You is her second album, and on it she has switched from guitar to the instrument she actually grew up playing - the piano.
Her jagged, staggered wordplay is peppered over sparse and simplistic piano arrangements throughout the disc - from opener Lay Me Down to the beauty and spite of Find You In Your Sleep.
The newest addition to the I’m Trying Records roster may sound ultra-serious at first, but her disc closes with a pair of tunes that will make the listener chuckle a little - the meditative Zombifying and the pensive Burritos.
A lot more Emily Haines or Nicole Byblow than Ben Folds or Elton John, she doesn’t quite rock out, but Cigarettes and You does rock. That, and the singer has come a long way since she was 16, when Burt released the moody Out of Your Hair.
It will be interesting to see if Burt becomes Winnipeg’s long-awaited female Tom Waits, and if in 20 years she will evolve into an experimental genius.
Check out Burt at the Lo Pub on Friday, Jan. 20, where she will unveil the new disc. Mise en Scene and Claire Morrison will also perform. Get your tickets for just $7 at the door, which opens at 9 p.m. (show at 10 p.m.).
- Nicholas Friesen
THE JIM CUDDY BAND
It’s easy enough to put Canadian musical icon Jim Cuddy in the “one band man” category, what with the 25 years he’s been fronting Blue Rodeo, but he wants you to know he’s got much more up his sleeve.
Most recently, and on and off for the last 14 years, The Jim Cuddy Band has defined him as someone other than “that guy from Blue Rodeo.”
“I did the first solo record out of self-preservation. (Blue Rodeo bandmate) Greg (Keelor) was so unhappy and I wasn’t sure he was going to come around,” Cuddy explains.
“The second album became more evident it was a separate band. (On) this record, we have created some different songs, some different sounds. The greatest success for me is for nobody to yell out a Blue Rodeo song. People understand they are coming out to see something that is not Blue Rodeo.”
Besides the successful separation between the two groups and the three albums Cuddy has released thus far, he also remains a favourite among Canadian radio listeners, landing at number five on CBC Radio 2’s Top 50 Artists of 2011.
However, does the artist still get a rush from an honour like this?
“I hate to admit it, but I do,” Cuddy says with a laugh. “You could have a top record on rock radio in Calgary and nobody hears it, but everybody has at least tuned in partially to the CBC. … It’s a nice gesture.”
To see the humble artist live, check out The Jim Cuddy Band on Friday, Jan. 20 at the Pantages Playhouse Theatre. Doug Paisley kicks things off at 8 p.m. with tickets ranging from $40 to $74.50 through Ticketmaster.
- Pamela Roz
MARY JANE STOLE MY GIRL
“I’ve been in a crap load of bands over the years, none of them played more than a handful of shows,” says David Skene, 29. “The bands I’m in now are definitely the best I’ve ever been in.”
Right now, Skene is a member in at least four bands, including the Manic Shakes, Merch Table Delite and Ex Modern Teen.
His newest band, Mary Jane Stole My Girl, is a lo-fi duo featuring Jimmy Shand (Kato Destroy) on drums.
Skene recorded MJSMG’s self-titled debut album over the last six years with friends and family while he spent some time drifting from one city to the next.
“The songs are an attempt to capture the feeling of having no home, sleeping on couches and slowly losing touch with the person you thought you were,” he says.
“I can’t play solos or lead guitar of any kind - I can only strum along,” he adds. “I’m actually not that good at guitar.”
So how does the singer make up for it? At recent shows, he’s been known to spout a rousing rendition of Madonna’s Like a Prayer, backed only by Shand’s rhythmic beats.
“The only way to do the songs justice is to have no idea what you are doing.”
Check out Mary Jane Stole My Girl with Softcore, Philia and 2 Tailz on Saturday, Jan. 21 at the Graffiti Gallery. Admission is $5 or $3 with a non-perishable food item. Show stars at 9:30 p.m.
- Melanie Dahling and Nicholas Friesen
Published in Volume 66, Number 16 of The Uniter (January 18, 2012)