Friday, 4 March 2011
Introducing: The Stanfields (written by Charmaine Santos)
The 2010 release of Vanguard of the Young and Reckless granted Nova Scotia’s The Stanfields with national recognition, as the 11-track album was swiftly hailed as the quintessence of the working class hero’s bid to escape from the menial lifestyle of Atlantic Canada. Dubbed as “Halifax’s Best Band” in 2010, The Stanfields offer a distinct sound that is undeniably Nova Scotian, grounded by traditional Celtic roots fused with pounding rock rhythms at its rawest. What began as hushed acoustic jams had eventually plugged in and fostered into the hard-driving sound that The Stanfields emerged with since their formation in the summer of 2008. With only a couple of years under their belt, their height of success is impressive.
Always on the move, this quintet has rightfully earned their wins as “Best New Artist” and “New Artist/Group Recording” at the Nova Scotia Music Awards in 2009. They have been recognized as the “Band Most Likely to Make it Big” and have been revered by readers of Coast Magazine as the “Best Band to Get Trashed to” for two consecutive years. They have shared the stage with Sloan at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, performed at the 2010 Juno Awards in St. John’s, and had opened alongside high-profile Canadian musicians for the 2011 Canada Games held this past February in Halifax. Jon Landry wasn’t kidding when he said that the band likes to keep busy, and their hard labour is surely paying off!
Although The Stanfields are renowned for being the perfect band to get well-oiled to during bar-hopping escapades, their songs also convey a darker side to reality that expresses the often overlooked dilemmas of Maritime living in the grips of modernization. Their first hit single “The Dirtiest Drunk (In the History of Liquor)” has won over audiences for its humorous and catchy lyrics about inebriation, but the song also paints a gritty portrait of complete hopelessness. “It’s funny because to me, “The Dirtiest Drunk” is a pretty sad tale of a hopeless aimless drunk” says Landry. “I consider it black comedy of sorts. I think it is an after effect of such traumas laid out in songs like “Ship to Shore””. Creatively well-crafted, “Ship to Shore” explores the themes of post-war dejection. Landry expresses that their songs are not to be contained as politically driven tracks, but rather be understood as stories that must be told. Keeping true to the folk traditions of the Maritimes, The Stanfields present themselves as story tellers through their music. “We just work with the stories and concepts that are all around us, both as Nova Scotians and Canadians” says Landry. “Over the last couple of years, we’ve been fortunate enough to get to know this vast country of ours more intimately, and grow to love it on a deeper level. We are very lucky to live where we do, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have our own problems and can ignore them”.
After successfully completing a cross-country tour of Canada at the beginning of the year, The Stanfields have again filled their calendars with more fist-pumping, liver-wrenching shows that drive you out of your seat. They will be playing for Toronto’s Canadian Music Week on March 10th at the Tattoo Rock Parlour and March 11th at the Sound Academy. When asked about their most memorable experience and what to expect at The Stanfields show, Landry replied, “There are lots of things that I can’t really mention, though I’ve watched people on different occasions kick holes in walls. Thankfully, no one has ever gotten hurt. We like it when people dance rather than try to kill each other in a mosh pit, though it happens from time to time. What can ya do?”
It’s safe to say that anything goes, so be sure to have a cold pint, or pitcher, in hand as The Stanfields entertain you.