I saw ROMI MAYES in December at her “Lonely Jew At Christmas” show at Times Change(d) High & Lonesome Club in Winnipeg. She performed at two shows, one at 7:30 and one at 10:00. Mayes is from Winnipeg and popular among her musician peers there. The crowd at the first performance included some seasoned musicians there to support her. Also among the crowd in the first set was her mother.
The Romi Mayes Lonely Jew At Christmas Show at Times Change(d) High & Lonesome Club (Winnipeg) is considered by Mayes to be her own personal party. She was enjoying the shooters and encouraging the crowd to participate in the merriment as well. The woman beside me was concerned about Mayes encouraging the crowd to drink and joked that she was a bad influence when Manitoba drinking and driving laws are so strict. I told her to just take a cab home. She agreed and went to the bar, then the dance floor holding a drink, nodding her head at me and smiling like a Cheshire cat.
Romi Mayes is a tiny little slip of a woman with long raven hair and black tattoos on both slim arms. She can barely be seen behind her black hollow electric Gibson, but when she opens her mouth, Mayes is large. Her voice is clear and confident and her heart is so on her sleeve, I felt myself falling in love. Her songs are original and I enjoyed every one of them. She is an excellent songwriter. Her lyrics are fun and relatable. My favourite line was “I think you mistake me for someone you used to abuse”. Such attitude, girl.
Mayes’ genre is country-rock, but it’s country-rock with female balls. Does that paint a picture for you? I’m trying to get across that she is super feminine in voice and stature, but hard as nails in music range and attitude. She has obviously poured her big heart out in both the musicality of her songs and the lyrics.
Her band is comprised of Romi Mayes (vocal, guitar), Chris Carmichael (lead guitar), Jesse Miller (drums) and T.E. Fodey (bass). Carmichael on lead guitar is clearly a talented guitarist. When he plays the song riffs, all eyes are on him. When he stops, the crowd erupts in cheers. Miller and Fodey kept the band tight.
Here I am waxing all poetic about this band. It’s so unlike me. I didn’t even follow Mayes advice about ordering shooters. I was sober, but totally taken away by the music. It made me happy. I looked for fault either in the singer, the band, the songwriting or the stage performance, and I couldn’t find anything to criticize.
Mayes’ past albums have garnered three Western Canadian Music Awards for Songwriter of the Year, two Western Canadian Music Awards for Album of The Year, a Juno nomination for Album of the Year, and various Canadian Music Award nominations.
She has relentlessly toured Canada, US, Europe, UK, and has shared the stage with the likes of Levon Helm, Derek Trucks, Ricky Skaggs, Jim Cuddy, Gordie Johnson, Guy Clark, Sue Foley, Fred Eaglesmith, Corb Lund, Blackie and The Rodeo Kings, and many more.
Mayes’ song “Something Going On” has been featured in the TV shows The Good Wife and Blacklist.
I will be rushing out to see her again at the “Women In Blues” show at Park Theatre, Winnipeg, on January 12th, 2019. We can catch her again at The Cavern, Winnipeg, on February 1st, 2019.
Mayes closed the show with what she called “her favourite new band”, THE LOVE TONGUES. This was a treat that the early show didn’t receive.
THE LOVE TONGUES
THE LOVE TONGUES are a new group of talented kids who have gotten together to perform what they describe as “designed for the drunken party, punk-rock, rock, electric, alternative, pop/rock, alternative/indie rock, pop/rock don’t pigeon hole”. Basically, they haven’t decided yet what they are doing.
If I did want to pigeon hole them, I’d say they are basically a punk band. They haven’t really defined themselves and, given the talent of the players, I see them experimenting for a few years, trying different genres of music and finding their voice. They keep a foot-stomping beat and are designed perfectly for the drunken party. Their songs are fun. Frontman Ewan Turnbull wears a Thing 1 t-shirt and Where’s Waldo? red glasses and hat. He didn’t bother to take off his pyjama bottoms for the gig, and I get the sense he never will. His look is very tall nerdy little boy. I enjoy when frontmen pick a look like that. You recognize them again when you see them. You don’t have to remember the band name, you just say “hey remember the band with the Where’s Waldo guy?”. Of course, you do remember the name THE LOVE TONGUES.
Band members are Ewan Turnball (vocals), Ian Powell (Bass), Kyle Maskiw (guitar), Jeff Geisbrect (guitar) and Kyle Fox (drums).
The band member who immediately stood out is bass player Ian Powell. It became obvious right away that Powell and drummer Kyle Fox were the power behind the band. Percussion is this band’s strong point. Powell would occasionally thrill the audience by running away with a bass riff. A lot of bass players stay in the background, but Powell is front of stage pounding away on those strings. He doesn’t move his hair out of his face while leaning into the mic to provide backup vocals.
It looks like almost everyone in the band sings, and it will be interesting to see if they run with that in the future.
They recorded an EP for free at MOSMA | Mid-Ocean School of Media Arts in Winnipeg with a few students and are in the process of getting it mixed by an outside mixing company. There is no release date currently, but they are hoping for the end of spring, 2019.
You will have two chances to see THE LOVE TONGUES for yourself in January 2019. They are playing January 11th at Times Change(d) High & Lonesome Club with Zrada and January 12th at The Handsome Daughter with Ex-Omerta. Both gigs in Winnipeg.
Contact information for ROMI MAYES:
Contact information for THE LOVE TONGUES: