North Country Heart is twelve swampy country blues songs layered with the storied delivery of a Texas word slinger. From the north. Songs smothered in traditional Yukon roots music featuring a unique take on stories that live in the Canadian north. Produced by Juno Award-winning Bob Hamilton (Kim Barlow, Sarah MacDougall, Kim Beggs) and featuring Ken Hermanson (banjo, lapsteel, guitar), Bob Hamilton (upright bass, pedal steel), Patrick Hamilton (drums) Annie Avery (piano, organ) and Sarah Macdougall (vocals), the Canadian road warrior’s fifth full length album is his boldest effort yet.
“We took our time making it, I came in with more songs than ever, and after 14 years of living in the Yukon, I decided it was time to write about my home. I talk about the Yukon on and off the stage so much, confessing its secrets, and spreading my love for this sweet place, that harvesting these tales into songs felt long overdue. The bonus was making another album with Old Crow Studios & Bob Hamilton who has become not only a mentor but a friend. Someone to push me and care about what I am putting out. To capture time, and bleed art.”
Indeed. Album opener “Gypsy Wind” touches on the all too familiar themes of northern life and love, while the title track is a raucous ode to Tentree’s home, and in “Holy Moly” the singer “wrestles bears in my underwear”, a song about the things men do to impress women in the north. Personal themes abound as well (“Little Guy”, “Black Seeds”) and it will comes as no surprise that someone who has spent as much time on tour as Gordie has penned a few road songs (“Last Word”, “Sideman Blues”, “Wasted Moments”) for the album as well.
“I played 220 dates in 8 countries in 2011. Things happen, relationships change. You lose yourself out there, and lose a lot of the safety you once had. I stopped expecting anything, or asking anyone to understand. Your personal life is dead. Most of the dreams I ever had before are gone. You just hold onto different ones. It has taken me a while to accept this and realize how lucky I am.”
Livelier than the Tentrees WCMA nominated last album Mercy or Sin (2009) the Yukon songwriter feels like he is just getting started.
“I wanted to have fun. This feels like the first album not the fifth as I am really just starting out musically. I needed to make the last four albums to learn who I am and to grow into where I am now. I felt like a stronger singer, guitar and harp player not just another writer. I wanted to live with these songs forever, yet there was also no pressure or expectation in recording them. This album is a dynamic crack to the bone, yet still honest to me..
That songwriter, while humble about the road he has taken to arrive here, has recently signed a publishing deal with Nashville’s Bluewater Music, is releasing his new album on Continental Records (Europe), and will take his gutsy roots driven touring bandHill Country News featuring Roger Marin (pedal steel/guitar), Aiden Tentrees(upright bass), and Pat Phillips (drums) on a 120 CD release world tour that hits Canada, US, Europe, and the UK in 2012. The former school teacher, break dancer and golden gloves boxer is sure to be coming to a town near you this year.
Gordie’s third album, Mercy or Sin (produced by Juno-winner Bob Hamilton), was nominated for a 2010 Western Canadian Music Award for Roots Solo Album of the Year. The title track was also a finalist in the 2010 International Songwriting Competition, where judges included Tom Waits, Loretta Lynn and Jerry Lee Lewis. He performed at the New Songs New Voices concert during the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, was selected by CBC Radio’s 2009 Song Quest as one of Canada’s top songwriters, and hosted the prestigious SOCAN songwriters circle at the 2009 WCMAs. Gordie has toured with Fred Eaglesmith, Kelly Joe Phelps and Ray Wylie Hubbard.
“Tentrees is so relaxed and unpretentious it’s impossible to not get dragged into his world“NO DEPRESSION
“In the rough cut vein of Kelly Joe Phelps or Fred Eaglesmith, Tentrees is gifted” GLOBE & MAIL
“The concert kicked off with a strong set by Gordie Tentrees, who has been opening for the band (Fred Eaglesmith) on recent dates, and it is apparent to this listener that Tentrees has been working hard in the couple of years since he opened the same venue for Kelly Joe Phelps. His ease and ability on resophonic slide guitar and rack mount harmonica suggest some serious time spent honing his craft; and the inclusion of an electrified stomp board lends authority to his steady tapping left foot. Killer songs with strong vocals and deft fingerpicking make for a stellar show, Tentrees is a talent on the move, and moving in good company”