When he played with Doug and the Slugs in the late ’90s and early 2000s, 20,000 people might wait before the stage.
Filling the same instrumental role behind the piano in Stone Poets, though, Marc Gladstone describes the experience as akin to that unmentionable front-of-the-classroom dream, baring one’s assets and talents, stripped down with no room for error.
“Stone Poets is really naked. Maybe put raw. We don’t play naked,” said the 52-year-old Gladstone in an interview this week.
Gladstone actually joined this particular act—one of many bands he plays for, including Prism—after his house was seconded by the other two members.
The group is a collaboration between Scott Jackson, frontman for the Surrey-based, pop/rock band Abandon Paris, and solo artist Cherelle Jardine, who is releasing her second album with her daughter under the name The Jardines.
Jardine and Jackson were playing a show on the same night a couple of years ago and Jackson decided Jardine might make the perfect yin to his yang on a duet he was writing.
As in any good grade-school fairytale romance, he asked Gladstone whether he thought she would work with him. Gladstone told him to ask her himself. One convoluted sounding negotiation later, the pair were planning a jam session in Gladstone’s house. And the rest, as they say, is the history of another young folk act.
“We say that it’s kind of dark folk because a lot of the content has kind of that dark, mysterious edge,” said Jardine, chiming in the the same telephone interview.
Though Gladstone jokes about the band members having several demons in the closet, Jardine promises Beelzebub is not involved. Nevertheless, its a struggle for them to explain how a twisted country acoustic group with a penchant for goth costuming wound up in the trendy, if voluminous, folk category of the independent music scene, trying to duke it out with hipsters half their age.
“When you think of folk, you think of Canadiana and they’re writing about maple trees. There’s nothing wrong with that at all, but folk is a hard word for us,” admitted Jardine.
Like many an act donning horn-rimmed glasses and jeans that make their thighs scream in the name of art, the band knows this is not an industry that takes kindly to thinking outside the box. Fitting the folk scene, even in name only, can’t hurt if it draws attention, for attracting new ears without a major label is always a feat. And it’s a critical one for the future of musicianship.
“It’s really important for people to come out and support independent music and hear new music instead of what the radio has to offer,” said Jardine, noting the bandmates are all lifelong musicians.
She credits the house concert program with the huge resurgence of the folk genre, pointing out venues for independent music have dwindled and this new idea, to hold concerts in peoples’ homes with sign up via the Internet, has really opened the door for more diversity within professional music.
Stone Poets will be taking the act through to Saskatchewan in a few months after another studio session.
Check out their dark folk stylings, then hear them play the Minstrel Café on Monday, Oct. 29, as part of a B.C. tour.