Red Moon Road: Campfires, collaboration and house concerts

Lost in the woods: Red Moon Road’s music is inspired by the lake, campfires and outdoor living. “What I think makes a good song is something you can play with your friends out in the bush,” says Daniel Jordan (left), pictured with bandmates Sheena Rattai (centre) and Daniel Peloquin-Hopfner (right). “When I’m camping, those are the kinds of songs that I’m playing.” Supplied

Daniel Jordan has been playing gigs in Winnipeg for numerous years, but he feels like he’s just getting his music career started.

Two days before his 27th birthday next week, the multi-instrumentalist and singer - who earned a music degree as a jazz drummer from the University of Manitoba, served as founder and bandleader for the Retro Rhythm Review, has performed original music as Jonny Moonbeam, and who has worked as a freelance side-man for Romi Mayes and The Liptonians - will play with his band Red Moon Road at the West End Cultural Centre to celebrate the release of their debut, self-titled full-length album.

Jordan’s bandmates in the project are fellow multi-instrumentalist Daniel Peloquin-Hopfner (Entre Parentheses, Fire and Smoke) and vocalist Sheena Rattai (SHEENA, The Solutions)’ themselves both Winnipeg music scene vets at the ages of 25 and 26, respectively.

“All of us are from such different musical backgrounds, none of which are what we’re doing now, which is what I think makes (Red Moon Road) unique,” Jordan says.

He and Peloquin-Hopfner formed the roots act in 2009 after participating in the same folk festival jam session, where each tried to one-up the other with his musical prowess.

The band completed its line-up with the addition of Rattai last summer and entered the studio in November 2011 with producer Murray Pulver (Doc Walker, Crash Test Dummies) and recording engineer Don Benedictson (The Wyrd Sisters, Fred Penner).

Much of the material was written by Jordan, but he is quick to point out the vital role his bandmates played in making the songs what they are.

“The songs wouldn’t sound the same if Daniel (Peloquin-Hopfner) and Sheena were not there,” he says, pointing to album opener Do or Die, which Rattai sings lead vocals on, as an example.

“It’s the greatest thing to write a song and then have a real singer singing it,” Jordan says.

He’s no slouch himself when it comes to vocals, as people will find out when they listen to the album.

The band says the material on the disc was inspired by the lake, campfires and outdoor living. Peloquin-Hopfner grew up on a farm, and Jordan’s family owns a cabin on an island in Lake of the Woods.

“Frankly, what I think makes a good song is something you can play with your friends out in the bush,” Jordan says. “When I’m camping, those are the kinds of songs that I’m playing.”

The band recently completed a Home Routes house concert tour, and are looking forward to playing similar gigs in the future.

While they appreciate the time they spent playing bars around Winnipeg in other bands, and they don’t rule out doing the same in the future, they appreciate the attentive audiences that come with playing folk music in a house or folk festival setting.

“If I could do house concerts and folk festivals for the rest of my live, I would,” Jordan says.

The band’s plans after the album release show are to tour and possibly record another album before the end of the year. Peloquin-Hopfner’s dream is to one day play on The Vinyl Cafe.

Jordan agrees.

“That’s when I know I’ll have made it,” he says.

Published in Volume 66, Number 23 of The Uniter (March 14, 2012)

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