There’s a musical treat coming to the Valley as the Andrew Collins Trio play Providence Farm Chapel on Feb. 9.
Five-time JUNO nominee and seven-time Canadian Folk Music Award winning mando-maestro Andrew Collins and his fellow Trio string-meisters have borrowed a page from basic carpentry, hitting the nail on the head with their new, double disc, cleverly called Tongue & Groove.
You may already know the wildly exploratory Andrew Collins through his work with The Foggy Hogtown Boys, the equally mind-bending Creaking Tree String Quartet or the Trio itself — but you’ll never put a label on him for his approach to folk, newgrass, jazz and even some chamber-oriented roots music. Showcasing a dizzying number of styles and instruments on stage, Collins and Co. appear to live by the adage: “idle hands are the devil’s workshop,” likely keeping them just ahead of his grasp.
Collins’s skills on mandolin, fiddle, guitar, mandola, mandocello and smooth vocals merge with the rich talents of his trio mates Mike Mezzatesta (guitar, mandolin, fiddle, mandola) and James McEleney (bass, mandocello and vocals) and represent a back-to-basics visitation on what the band does best — spontaneity of the stage and rapid-fire, improvisational exchanges.
Asked where he’s from and how he met the guys, the group leader says, “I’m from Toronto (which is where we’re all based). I originally met Mike Mezzatesta at least 10 years ago. He actually approached me at one of my shows for a lesson. Well, we got together and it was obvious that he didn’t need lessons. Instead we just jammed and became friends. I also discovered that aside from having very similar influences, he had learned a bunch of my tunes that I had previously recorded. Anyhow, eventually we ran into each other again out in British Columbia (where he was living at the time) and I told him that I was thinking about starting a band of my own, and if he ever made it back to Toronto to let me know as I’d love to play with him. A few months later, he called me out of the blue and told me he was back in Toronto. Well I had to put my money where my mouth was and that was the start of the Trio.
“Around that time, I was producing/recording an album for a band called The Unseen Strangers. This was my second production for them and they had a new bass player, James McEleney, whose vibe, bass chops and singing, blew me away. Anyhow, as a courtesy, I checked to make sure that the band leader, Adam Shier, wouldn’t mind if I asked James to play with me and he responded ‘not if you don’t mind if I ask Mike to play with me’. So we did a little band sharing and the rest is history.
“The Andrew Collins Trio has four albums out now. Our first album, A Play On Words, is mostly original instrumental music with a couple of vocals on it. Our second release, And It Was Good, was my first concept album. It’s all original, instrumental music, that is based on the seven days of creation story. There was also some influence by the David Grisman album Mondo Mando, where he used the Kronos Quartet on the title track. I put together a string quartet which I dubbed The Phantasmagoria String Quartet and wrote and arranged accompaniment all over the album.
“I’m most excited about our latest release with the Trio, a double album called Tongue & Groove which features one album of all vocal material and one album of all instrumental music. Since so much of my material has been instrumental over the years, people expect an ACT show to be almost all instrumental. However I love to sing and we’ve always incorporated vocals into the show. We got so used to people at the CD table asking which album has the songs that we sing, that I decided to finally do an album of all vocal music.
“We’d especially love for folks to come out to the show and pick up CDs. They can also get the music from our website www.andrewcollinstrio.com/music or iTunes, Amazon etc.”
Showtime at Providence Chapel is 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 each. Call 250-802-1213 to reserve or go to https://barelynorth.com/upcoming-events%2Ftickets to buy online.