The Death Ballad Love Tellers tour: the Second Coming
April 6 – Twin Butte General Store, Twin Butte, AB
April 7 – Black Diamond, AB
April 8 – Calgary. AB
April 9 – Lethbridge
April 10 – Fernie, BC
April 11– Penticton Art Gallery, Penticton, BC
April 12 – Chapel Arts, Vancouver, BC
April 13 – Vancouver
April 14 – Victoria
April 15 – Arbutus Music, Nanaimo
. . .
Three of the West’s most madly-creative underground songwriters will be surfacing on one stage this month for the Death Ballad Love Tellers tour: the Second Coming.
Testosterone’s answer to the Scrappy Bitches of a decade ago, Ben Sures, David P. Smith and Bubba Uno will accompany each other on guitar, ukulele and accordion respectively while each takes a turn showcasing his songs.
And what songs they are! Not content to stick with the tried and true themes of love and loss, Troy “Bubba Uno” Cook sets his acoustic indie folk music in make-believe post-zombie-apocalypse wastelands populated by robots, aliens, vampires and serial killers — and a satanic rabbit trying to restore old-fashioned evil on earth. The musician, poet, visual artist and spoken word performer first started composing while working as a truck driver in a coal mine — which might explain his penchant for barren landscapes.
He is currently touring to promote both a book, Warriors of the Zombie Hamlet, and the latest CD by his ensemble, Bubba Tres, Zombies in the Snow. He will also be performing songs from the upcoming rock opera “Peanut Butter Tongue: The Richard Speck Space Chronicles,” which follows the futuristic alien resurrection of serial killer Richard Speck during the great Zombie Apocalypse.
Ben Sures is touring to support his latest album Gone to Bolivia, which was CKUA’s most-played album by an Alberta artist in 2011, and which made Sarah Greene’s Top 10 albums of 2011 in Toronto’s Now. “Yeah, yeah. That’s not so underground,” you say. Well, he was bound to get discovered eventually. Sures celebrated his 20th year in music with the release of Bolivia, and the great thing about him is, he got his acclaim by getting more – not less – inventive in his work. The latest album was produced by Rheostatics alumnus Don Kerr, whose quirky way with instrumentation is the perfect match for Sures’ idiosyncratic songs. The songs themselves – already category winners in the John Lennon and International Songwriting Competitions – have only grown more original since Sures’ stint as a regular musical guest on CBC’s The Irrelevant Show.
David P. Smith is just plain touring, and that’s a big deal unto itself. The last time he did a tour was three years ago. That’s a long time to wait for fans of his raw, accordion-driven, reconstruction of blues and country music. In the intervening three years, Smith released his CD Mantennae, formed a band called the Euphorians, recorded his fifth album with them (it comes out this spring), let the band go, and started a song-a-week blog at http://davidpsmithasongaweek.blogspot.ca which showcases his new solo work and eclectic repertoire – check out his YouTube videos of him performing everything from Hank Williams to Elton John. At the core, Smith is essentially a storyteller, albeit not a teller of the kind of stories you’re used to. His narratives are visceral and often hilarious. They peer into darkness and stumble into surrealism, before lurching back into universal everyday-isms.
Smith says touring with Sures and Uno is exciting because everyone on the bill is so different. “There’s not a chance to get bored,” he says. And that goes for the audience too. With Smith, Sures and Uno on one stage, listeners will be eagerly anticipating the next song and the next and the next.