Ethan Collister launched a new album on Saturday – his fifth solo release – unleashing the vibrant fiddles and powerful messages of Dear Bastards to the crowd at the EPCOR Engineered Air Theatre. This Calgary artist has brought together a wide variety of influences and sounds into a harmonious, toe-tapping collection of tunes that show that there’s certainly more to Calgary than “simple” country music.
The album features Collister on vocals and guitar; Aleksandra Danicic on triple V duty (violin, viola and vocals); and Lamb Shanks Beaucoup on upright bass.
Collister’s sound is hard to pin down, with haunting western strings and a tight voice, thick with emotion and fraught with a world-weary heaviness that reflects the lyrics perfectly. At the same time, there’s a brightness to the music that adds an extra complexity to what might be considered compressing songs. There is an underlying context of mental health that makes Dear Bastards somewhat of a personal experience that can’t be categorized by the song itself; the rawness of the music would create a different experience, depending on your own history. As a whole, the album is rich and cohesive, flowing like a single story without sounding repetitive or constrained.
The website seems to be unavailable at the time of writing, but you can connect with Collister on Facebook for more info about upcoming gigs and album availability.