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Meet the Press

Folk of the North, Canadian Roots Music
By Steve Winick
Dirty Linen

No problems on the charisma front for our next couple of bands. Wherever they go, they make young women weak at the knees. I speak of Newfoundland's two young Celtic folk rock acts, Great Big Sea and The Punters. If Great Big Sea are folk-pop, The Punters are definitely folk-rock. Their music seethes with the power, anger and attitude of classic rock 'n' roll wedded to the melodic sensibilities of Irish music. Obvious comparisons are to groups like Fairport Convention and Steeleye Span, but early Horslips and, most recently, Wolfstone, are the bands that really demonstrated the harder edge that The Punters are seeking. Their latest disc, Said She Couldn't Dance..., is mostly an album of rock songs, but one with serious nods to both the Newfoundland tradition and great folk-rock bands like Fairport Convention. The best of the new songs, most of which were written by frontman Larry Foley, is "Reena," one of those timeless "she's so hot" songs which form a great strand of the rock 'n' roll yarn. The instrumental tunes make up the best of the traditional material, and include rocked-up versions of reels, jigs and polkas. The several traditional songs sound a bit thin when sung in Foley's voice, which is better suited to rock than to old shanties and disaster ballads. In fact, I think another singer/instrumentalist, one who handled the traditional songs and also some folkier instrumentation, would do wonders to balance the rock and folk sides of The Punters. As it is, though, Said She Couldn't Dance... goes from pretty good in some places to really cooking in others. *This article has been edited for length and content.*

New CD Ready
Fisherman's Blues, the 4th CD from The Punters, is now available. On this CD the band celebrates their traditional roots and we finally hear a song from Pat.


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