Elliott Brood with Young Heirlooms

Saturday • MOTR Pub

Mar 25, 2015 at 9:13 am
click to enlarge Elliott Brood
Elliott Brood

When a band’s sound gets tagged as “Death Country,” you know something special is afoot. And Canadian trio Elliott Brood lives up to its advance billing in every conceivable way.

Utilizing guitar, banjo, ukulele, bass pedals, kazoo, harmonica, keyboards, percussion and a sampler in acoustic and electric contexts, Elliott Brood has reimagined rootsy Country, Bluegrass and Folk in a twangy and bracing manner that suggests Old 97’s and legitimately deserves the designation of Canadiana.

Elliott Brood formed when vocalists/multi-instrumentalists/childhood friends Mark Sasso and Casey Laforet left their Windsor, Ontario, hometown for Toronto upon graduating high school. They started Elliott Brood in 2002 with two other members who left after a handful of shows, leaving Sasso and Laforet to soldier on as a duo. The following year, the pair connected with producer Stephen Pitkin, recording their debut EP, Tin Type, in Sasso’s living room, dubbed the Orange Room for its painted decor (Tin Type was reissued in 2013 with three bonus songs).

By 2005, Pitkin had become EB’s permanent percussionist, gaining notoriety in music circles for using a Samsonite suitcase in favor a traditional bass drum.

Elliott Brood’s debut full-length, Ambassador (named after the bridge that links Windsor, Canada, and Detroit), displayed the trio’s incredible musicality as well as its propensity for elaborate packaging.

Enclosures included a faux Great Lake Railways ticket and liner notes printed in the style of an actual work order for the Ambassador Bridge, which was completed in 1929.

Elliott Brood’s fantastic 2008 sophomore album, Mountain Meadows, was nominated for the 2009 Polaris Music Prize, but during the album’s tour, Pitkin abandoned his suitcase-drum novelty after the mid-set failure of several cases. In 2010, Elliott Brood did the film score for Grown Up Movie Star, earning a Genie Award (a sort of Canadian Oscars that no longer exists) nomination for the song “West End Sky.” The following years saw the release of the band’s third album, Days Into Years, inspired by the members’ visit to a French military cemetery.

The trio’s latest triumph is Work and Love, released late last year to rapturous reviews, many of which cited it as the trio’s best album to date. No need to plan a long trip to see Elliott Brood; the best of the Great White North is coming your way.

ELLIOTT BROOD plays a free show at MOTR Pub this Saturday. More info here .