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Dust Poets

Retirement Is For Later

It’s been a fun several months of Arizona golfing and Alaskan cruises, but the Dust Poets are set to come out of early retirement. The hiatus couldn’t be helped, but neither can the reunion. Armed with brand new vintage clothing, weird new stories to tell, and even a few new tunes, the Dust Poets will be starting out in some familiar stomping grounds this summer with shows at the storied Onanole Rec Centre, and the fabulous showcase of Manitoba music and food, The Harvest Sun Festival.

For the first week of September the band will be stretching the road legs for a trip to our favourite early autumn destination, Jolly Olde New England. We hope you'll catch us for shows in Vermont, Massachusetts, and New York State.
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Oh thank heaven, it’s 2011

Happy post-holiday sobering up, everyone! We hope you enjoyed a bit of time to kick back and relax over the holidays, coz we sure did.

Murray is off roving through northern Thailand on rented motorcycles and leaky kayaks these days, on some sort of quest to find the "perfect bushmeat". Sean and Karla rocked the Winnipeg Xmas office party circuit pretty hard before retiring to the ancestral ranch in Saskatchewan to check on the yearlings and shoot frozen eggs off the top of a fencepost with a 12-gauge. Gordie and his bride jumped in their new car and drove from Toronto to Winnipeg without any gigs on the way (madness!) in order to play shinny with the rellies at the Burton Cummings Community Centre rink. Not to be outdone, Corey did a longish road trip as well, from his apartment in northern Japan down to the southern island of Kyushu and back. Eight days driving to find the really good ramen seems like a bit much, but at least there were castles on the way.

We're looking forward to being back on the road this fall, so we'll be seeing you all then!

Back to s’Cool

September is here, summer is over, and it's time to get back to work. The Dust Poets are happy to back on the road for a short but surely sweet tour in Ontario and New York state this month. First we hit Mitzi's Sister to rekindle our love affair with Toronto. It will be 24 hours of artisan coffee, micro-brew beers, thai food and cruisin the TTC. If you're in Toronto on Friday, Sept 24, come see us on Queen West.

Then we head back to our favourite state that borders Vermont, New York! We have two shows, first at the fabulous Oswego Music Hall and then at the historic Nelson Odeon theatre. Visit the shows page for info.

We'll be joined by the incomparable John Showman for these shows. Known for his work with the Creaking Tree String Quartet and the Foggy Hogtown Boys, John will be tearing it up on fiddle while the rest of us gawk in awe. Can't wait.

Live Review from London

Just found this review of the Dust Poets London show at 12 bar. This was a comically tiny venue and for our first show in the capital of the British empire we were delighted with the crowd. Hopefully next time we're over we'll have the standing room only crowd that this writer suggests.

Canadian 5 piece ensemble Dust Poets were playing after their success at the Shrewsbury Folk Festival. I had not heard a bad word about them so the sparseness of the crowd was something of a shock. Maybe I fall in love too easily; it only took the opening bars of "Walk Away" a song about "the urban sprawl that is happening in Canada" to get me. Murray D Evans' harmonica and acoustic guitar was immediate and forthright; the bass of Gord Mowat and the percussion of Sean McManus were relentless; the accordion of Karla Ferguson and guitar of Corey Ticknor [sic, actually Lloyd Peterson] were cutting.

The real beauty of the Dust Poets lays in their ability to change instruments or singers to suit any given song; McManus sang and Ticknor [Peterson] played mandolin on the "Faux Grass" number "Won't Sit Down", on "Change it All" Ferguson sang and McManus played clarinet. If Ticknor [Peterson] was a footballer he would be the ultimate utility player as, as well as guitar and mandolin, he took over percussion when McManus was blowing his clarinet and, on "Hold on For Love" he played pedal steel (although not on stage - there was not enough room). This allowed for a larger, more complex sound to be produced than would seem to be possible with just five band members as their set felt complete rather than just a series of individual tracks.

They finished their set with an Elvis cover; Costello's "Veronica" showing that not only can they write great songs, they can also interpret them. Everything I heard about the Dust Poets at Shrewsbury was right, it's a shame that there were not more people to witness it in the 12 Bar.

On the (wrong side of the) Road in the UK

The Dust Poets first ever UK tour is underway! The 9-seat van is hired and packed, Lloyd proved himself best producer EVER by not killing us on the motorway, and Gord somehow arrived on time after spending 10 days toodling around France and Spain with his bride. Sleep deprivation aside, we are now completely geared up for the fabulous Shrewsbury Folk Fest and look forward to a busy weekend of music and English beer tasting. Check out our Facebook page to get late breaking newsbits as it happens. Cheers!

World at Large reviews and radio

Reviews and radio play are rolling in for World at Large. We hit number 2 on the earshot Folk and Roots chart for Canadian college and community radio two weeks in a row, snuck onto the US Folj-DJ list this week, and have had a number of spins in the UK in advance of our upcoming tour and festival over there.

We've also had some fun reviews, including this nice one from Penguin Eggs, Canada's folk and roots magazine.

“There’s nothing better than seeing a critic who’s choking on a mouthful of his words,” Manitoba’s Dust Poets sing on the song Opening Day. OK, poets, I’m almost gagging, perhaps because there’s too much to say.

I could talk about your ability to slide effortlessly between bluegrass, pop, soul and even mariachi music. Or about your smooth harmonies. Or about your sheer gall of inserting horn lines into acoustic songs.

But it’s enough to talk about the fine songs that anchor this album. Murray D. Evans, the main songwriter, has a fine way with words and telling stories in three or four minutes. Continue reading 'World at Large reviews and radio'

Successful Launch and Summer Shows

We did it! World At Large is out in the world, and our CD launch concerts in Winnipeg, Brandon, and Onanole were all smashing successes. It was a real treat having producer/electric guitar whiz Lloyd Peterson join us onstage for all three shows. The album reviews are starting to trickle in and we'll be posting them in the next while.

Coming up next: second weekend in July, the Winnipeg Folk Festival. We'll be performing for the first time at this prestigious event and look forward to seeing many Manitoba folkies out in full force! Then it's off to London ON for the Home Country Folk Festival before returning to Manitoba for two shows in Onanole and the Friday night July 24th kickoff of the Brandon Folk Music and Art Festival, the beloved wee event of which our very own Murray Evans was a founding member, and the Artistic Director for its first 13 years. The BFMAF turns 25 this year. See you there!

CD Release Concerts

Three Release Concerts:

Thursday, May 28 - The Park Theatre, Winnipeg, MB
Doors 7:30, Show 8pm,
Tickets $10 advance, $12 door, available at Park Theatre, Into the Music, Music Trader

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Friday, May 29 - The Music Studio, Brandon, MB

Doors 7:30, Show 8pm
Tickets $15, available at The Music Studio, The Marquis Project

Saturday, May 30 - The Rec Centre, Onanole, MB
Doors 7:30, Show 8pm,
Tickets $15, available at Poor Michael's Bookstore

World at Large hits the World at Large

World at Large is out and available. You can preview and buy the record on our music page. You can download the record at:

World at Large is also available at your local record store, if you don't see it on the shelves, you can order it.

New Website

New WebsiteWell, you know, you're staring at it. Dust Poets just got spanky new htmls to go with our spanky new recording. Hope you like the new site. It was once again designed by our in-house designer, the proprietor of Smack Jams Media. It's got news that you can comment on, streaming audio for all the Dust Poets recordings, lyrics for all of Murray's tunes, and some great photo galleries. Of course, we're still on myspace and facebook, and you can find us on youtube too. So anyway, have a look around, stay a while, tell your friends.

World at Large - Released May 26

World at LargeWorld at Large hits the streets May 26 with three Manitoba release parties set for May 28-30. Check out the shows page for details on the CD release concerts in Winnipeg, Brandon and Onanole. Mail order the record on the music page, or check itunes in the coming days, it will be ready to download soon.

Here's a blurb from the official release press release: World at Large is the fourth record by the eclectic chamber folk ensemble the Dust Poets. Melding perceptive and melodic songwriting with the creative juices of five sensitive and worldly musicians, the Dust Poets have spent the last seven years touring across North America honing the trademark sound that binds World at Large together. Continue reading 'World at Large - Released May 26'

The New Record!

The Dust Poets will release a new record this spring. World at Large is a collection of a dozen songs, most penned by Murray, plus a song of Sean's and a Woody Guthrie cover from Mermaid Avenue. The songs were arranged and recorded by the band over the last year. The album was recorded at Lloyd Peterson’s wonderful Wonder Dog studios, mixed by the extraordinary Shawn Pierce, and mastered at Sterling Sound. World at Large showcases Murray's trademark mix of insightful sarcasm and thoughtful reflection, accompanied by a very Dust Poets blend of musical styles ranging from bluegrass to mariachi to rock.

World at Large will be released Canada-wide on May 26, available in stores and for download. A release concert at the Park Theatre in Winnipeg on Thursday, May 28 will be followed by shows in Brandon and Onanole MB - watch here for details. The record comes out on our own Productive Apathy label and will be distributed by Outside Music. Check the Dust Poets myspace page to preview the first few tracks.

BC Bye Bye BC

Northern BC is a beautiful chunk of the world, and we were sorry to only get 6 days of touring in up there. Audiences were wonderful, and it's just so damn easy to find great coffee. It was great to see old friends in Smithers, and party with lots of new friends at "post-concert receptions" [Read: decadent psychedelic rock'n'roll groupie parties] in Burns Lake, Kitimat, and Terrace. Sean still isn't sure at which of those parties he received his latest tattoo, and Gord's corduroy suitcoat is now sleeveless. The scenery was all rather spectacular, and the highlight was the entire band going skiing in Smithers. Some of us prairie types were a little terrified by skiing on an actual mountain, but no limbs were broken and we had a blast. We're more used to skiing being something you do in a ditch while being towed behind a truck with a length of bailer twine. But whatever. It was actually nice not to have to watch out for culverts when jumping the approaches.

Yellowhead Rambling

It's our first tour of Ought-Nine, and what better place to reacquaint ourselves with twisty snowcovered highways, tepid gas station coffee, and frisbee practise at roadside rest stops than - you guessed it - northern BC! This week the Poets land in Prince George BC to begin a 6 show mini-odyssey [ED: can odysseys be miniature?] across the legendary Highway 16, ending up on the west coast in spectacular Prince Rupert. As usual, you'll find all the salient info on our live shows page. If we're not back by Monday Feb 9, send a skidoo search team!