Whilst reading this, please click here to fill your to the brim with all that is right in the world. Specifically "Shading Tree"
If there is one thing that keeps me going, it is romantic notions. This life can be so looming, mechanical, scrutinized and picked apart. Circumstances are known to take us down a few pegs and by God we do a good amount of that to ourselves. But my belief is that we need the passionate and tenderhearted to fill this world with tales and times unknown. With song and laughter, honesty and renewal.
If your soul is in malaise, these guys are the medicine you require.
Blue Moon Marquee is a mysterious and magical mixture comprised of Alexander Wesley Cardinal and Jasmine Colette. Two kind, wandering spirits that seem as though they were ripped from another time.
The moment I first heard their music was just about a year ago when they were playing here on Vancouver Island, their now home, at a little festival in Duncan. I didn't have any expectations, really. I was going to see my Partners friends play live, seemed like it might be a good time.
I highly under-estimated the experience.
Seeing these two play live is a must. There is this strange energy that dances around them, teasing and taunting with mystery. It comes from their stomps, howls, and belting of hearty music for the bones but what makes me all the more curious is how they conduct themselves between songs. They aren't your typical performers. Though their genuine hearts shine though their music, you get the most raw glimpse of it when they speak. The honesty that they give to all interactions, on stage and off, is most refreshing, and quite endearing, I might add.
I like to think that the combination of Al's chewed up and gritty vocals, and Jazz's slinky bass lines are the nicotine kick that sinks the hook into the heart, while their strange and enticing lyrics lull the mind into a nomadic landscape. The ache in Al's voice was the first thing I was struck by. To this day, I hear almost a mystic quality in how he sings that peaks my curiosity. It tells of many stories, layers of heart-ache and sooty treasures. The sounds of a life well lived. And though Al's voice may be the flow of good drink and wisps of smoke in the air, it's Jazz's infectious energy and fast flying fingers that puts the spark back into weary bones. Watching her work her magic is an incredible sight to see. She gracefully snakes along the bass with such ease, keeping time and causing a ruckus.
The two of them together are a enticing balance of chemistry and wonder. Since the first time I saw them, I have had the pleasure of not only seeing them accompanied by three other musicians at the fantastic Herman's Jazz Club, but I've also gotten a sneak peek into their personal jam space. With colourful rugs layering the ground beneath them, an entanglement of chords leading to various beautiful instruments and artwork hugging the walls, they are the living embodiment of their music. A rustic journey into a land where simple descriptions just won't do it justice.
Growing up with Jazz and Blues swirling around me constantly, listening to the music that they make feels like a completion. It pulls me back into the place and time where the depths of my creativity were formed. It brings on a feeling of "finally". The first sip of a cool drink, the last piece of a puzzle, the long awaited embrace. It's as though my ears crave the mix of vagrant adventure, sultry tone and down home good times.
"Cards on the floor
wine's on the table.
The note on the door
reads "Cain and Abel's"?
Signed by the watchman and the bandoleer,
caught in the snare of a fowler."
1. Describe the moment you first saw one another and how you felt in your first interaction.
It was Spring. Alexander was in the basement of a mutual friend's, a layer that I lovingly called The Dick Den. There was a party happening. Al was situated in the kitchen, tripping out on the floor. I flew in the door, sweaty from a bike ride, dressed as Macho Man Randy Savage. Our grins met and I felt like a baby that had a taste of her first ice cream cone.
2. How do you feel your sound has evolved since you first started?
After 4 years of living, working & creating on the road together, all the intricacies of life morph into sound. Our 'gypsy blues' style is an amalgamation of influence, experience & inspiration we have soaked up and absorbed throughout our travels.
Also, we have played more than a couple hundred shows together...a great songwriter/performer once told me
"The first 200 shows as a band don't count, it's after that that it all gets real."
3. Is there any regularity to the song writing process?
Not so much. We try to have a writing apparatus close by at all times and write as much and as often as we can.
4. How does the album "Gypsy Blues" feel different from your other albums?
Less soft, more grit, not so squishy.
5. What do you feel is your most raw (or vulnerable, cracked open) song and how does it feel to play it in front of people?
Either 'Gypsy's Life' or 'Stumblin Fool'
It feels like wind, fire, water and dirt moving through my soul.
6. Realistically where do you see yourselves in 5 years?/What would be the greatest thing that could ever happen to your music careers?
Playing music all over the world, & celebrating Bernie Sanders' second run in office as commander-in-chief by dancing naked all day to Danzig.
The greatest thing? To tour as a quintet with Tom Waits, Wynton Marsalis, & Moe Tucker doing castle concerts all over eastern Europe.
7. What feeling, place, or mindset do you draw from most often when you play?
It's always changing - depends on the day, town, venue, mood. Often I like to imagine one of my many musical heroes - Ray Charles, Hank Williams, Memphis Minnie, Patti Smith, Django, Louis Armstrong.... sitting in the corner at the show. That always helps me sit up a little straighter.
8. How does your romantic relationship play into your music making and performing?
9. If you had been born as animals, what would you be? And do you think you still would have crossed paths?
I believe we would both be birds. Or whales.
Probably birds. And yes, we would be best pals.
10. What is the story of your morning today? The events, feelings, thoughts and interactions?
My morning glory story today is I am lying in bed after a late night of music & stories with good friends down the hill. Our four legged feline, Ella, is a purr machine by my feet. I am sipping dandelion root tea, the sky is white, & Debussy is serenading us.
11. What happens when we die?
All our greatest dreams come true
12. What is one thing outside of music that nurtures your creativity? (/has the greatest effect on your music making)
Reading poetry and watching films
13. If you had to pick another career, what would you be doing? /Would you continue to stay within the realm of music?
Helicopter pilot, professional skateboarder or farmer/beekeeper.
I don't think I could ever be without the realm.
Without a doubt, Al and Jazz are two of the most genuine people I have had the pleasure of meeting. If you get the chance to see them in the flesh, take it. Show them a little love and they'll pour it right back on you.
Blue Moon Marquee just put out their new album "Gypsy Blues" which features the artwork of the original Curious Questions Artist, Donovan "Duppy Doctor" Rose on the cover.
You can pick up a copy here.
And be sure to check out their website, as well as send them a line on facebook and click that little thumbs up for all of the grit and magic they share! (They also have instagram for all your pictorial needs. Join them as they traverse the globe on their Summer tourings!)