With five years of gigging and recording under its collective belt the Front Porch Roots Revue has earned a reputation as an act that is both exciting and dependable yet one that is continually evolving and coming at at its audiences from any number of musical reference points.
With bassist Ron Rault, harmonica player David “Crawdad Cantera” , guitarist Gord Matthews and drummer Thom Moon as the current “core” members, Front Porch continues to work from the premise that there is strength in numbers. The other constant is the Front Porch Roots Revue equation is that there is no reason to not explore both the music written by band members, songs found in the discographies of great artists that make for great theme based shows, and traditional music, whether it be blues, country, gospel and/or folk.
“You could catch three Front Porch performances in a month and there’s a chance the y’d all be completely different,” says Rault who built his career as both a solid tunesmith whose credits include writing Jump Up for Powder Blues, an engaging singer, and as a rock solid bass player who among other things recorded with blues greats like Johnny Shines and Louisiana Red.
“You could see Crawdad, Gord and myself doing an acoustic trio in a coffee house one night, hear us with Thom playing a mix of originals, and electric Chicago blues in a nightclub and then see a seven piece version of Front Porch working as Up On Cripple Creek where we dive into the songbook of The Band,” added Rault. Rault who along with Cantera and show producer Peter North, have continued to work together since the demise of another revue styled show that North produced called Come On In My Kitchen.
In the five years since Front Porch made its debut, a few other Come On In My Kitchen alumni have joined Rault and Cantera for shows including Winnipeg’s Brent Parkin, Calgary bluesman John Rutherford, pianist and gifted singer/songwriter Stew MacDougall and Doug Andrew the energized frontman of Vancouver’s Circus In Flames.
“We’ve also had Karla Anderson, an award winning folk singer, do a few shows with us and there are more scheduled on that front. Russell de Carle of Prairie Oyster also did a few shows with us in 2014, and we’ve had the opportunity to back artists like Grandpa Banana who was a founder of The Youngbloods and the late David Rea who performed with us at the Folkways Winter Roots Roundup a couple of years ago,” continued Rault who is also thrilled with the response to the Front Porch production Up On Cripple Creek: The Songbook of “The Band”.
“With Doug (Andrew), Ron Casat from the Edmonton Folk Music Festival House Band and a fine solo artist in his own right, as well as young, acclaimed Calgary-based songwriter JR Shore teaming up with the four core members, we’ve really hit a nerve with audiences all over the province. We’ve got six singers who all dive headlong into this material and Gordie Matthews, who spent all those years working with k.d lang and Ian Tyson, plays the Robbie Robertson guitar parts with great intensity.”
Up On Cripple Creek was intended as a one-off for the annual Front Porch show at Festival Place in January 2012. But the response was such to the Festival Place concert and two additional shows in Calgary’s Ironwood Stage and Grill that i t was immediately apparent a show comprised of material from The Band songbook was something audiences, in any centre and comprised of a couple of generations of roots music fans, would support and appreciate.
David Cantera sums up the Up On Cripple Creek experience by saying, “the show brings together a number of superb musical chefs who not only tackle a lot of the great material found on classic Band albums, but songs Levon Helm, Paul Butterfield and Garth Hudson recorded with Muddy Waters and the Helm led RCO All-Stars as well as material Levon covered on his Midnight Ramble shows.”
Another show is in the works for the Front Porch crew is “The Blues of The Band” where the core four and Ron Casat bring together the best of The Band’s blues-based tunes, a few of the vintage rock and roll songs found on Moondog Matinee and Rock of Ages while stitching in material from blues greats like Sonny Boy Williamson, Muddy Waters, John Hammond and Ronnie Hawkins who all played such critical roles in the story of The Band.
“Between Gord, Crawdad, Thom and myself we also need to do a follow-up Revue recording to our debut disc,” says Rault in reference to the 2011 release that found him, Andrew, Cantera, Brent Parkin, and Stew MacDougall serving up a strong mix of originals and traditional tunes. The material on the Front Porch recording ran the gamut from Hank Williams to the traditional gospel anthem Jesus Is On The Mainline to John Rutherford’s moving original Blue Town to Parkin and fiddler Byron Myhre rolling through One Of These Days.
Front Porch Roots Revue, the only things that are guaranteed are a good time and quality performances.
CONTACT: Ron Rault | firstname.lastname@example.org | 780-619-1547