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Meet the Press

The Musical Evolution of The Punters
By Mary Martin
Atlantic Gig

The Punters first came on the music scene in Newfoundland in 1995, and since then have been making a name for themselves as highly energetic and talented musicians who are well known on the music scene in Atlantic Canada. Original members Larry Foley (vocals, electric and acoustic guitars, mandolin), Patrick Moran (fiddle, electric guitar, backing vocals), were joined in April, 1999 by Chris Batstone (bass guitar, backing vocals), a ten year veteran of the indie rock band, Drive; and this past fall by Rich Spurrell (drums), who has played with a number of rock, jazz and country acts. With the release of their third CD Will You Wait, and the support of their record label, Loggerhead Records, The Punters are poised to take their music to North America, Europe and the world.

Larry Foley, founding member of The Punters said during an interview recently that "the initial concept of the band was to play traditional music in a way we felt hadn't been done in a while. We were sort of reclaiming our nationhood with the first record self titled The Punters and then as we evolved to the second record Said She Couldn't Dance we started fleshing out our writing skills a little bit more - original music along with some of the traditional songs we collected and adapted. And now with this third recording, Will You Wait, it's another step in the evolution of finding our own music and our own sound. I know for me personally, and for Patrick who's been in since the beginning as writers and as players and singers, it's just finding what we do best and then doing it as best we can."

When asked is Will You Wait a different sound for The Punters, Foley answers "Yes there's definitely seems to be a shift to a more pop sound. I mean the traditional element is still there and will always be as long as Patrick is playing the fiddle. This new sound is more an evolution than a conscious effort. Patrick will attest to the fact that we sort of had a formula for a while and were starting to become clones of ourselves. As soon as we felt that - taking a traditional song, rocking it up, putting a fast fiddle in it - it's like we said - okay we've done that and now we want to do something different. That's what this recording is all about - to see what else we could actually do. We went into the recording studio with that idea and are really happy about the outcome of the CD Will You Wait. However anyone listening to this music will know immediately it's The Punters."

The Punters signed a record deal with Loggerhead in June, 1998, and although their first two records were done independently here in St. John's, the latest CD Will You Wait was recorded in Quebec. It was simply more convenient for the record company and the producer to do it that way because they knew the gear that was in the studio and they knew the sound they wanted. As Foley explains "when you're a signed band it's different because you have other people to accommodate besides yourself. I mean the record company wants a record that they can go to market with and besides that what we were writing was evolving in a more commercial route. The record company and our producer really wanted to make a record that everyone could get. I mean we've been fortunate and are very thankful to our fans in Newfoundland who have supported us and that music is still on the record - traditional music is there but we also wanted to make a record that people anywhere could identify with and enjoy."

In support of Will You Wait, The Punters did a video for Rise With the Sun in November and that is getting airplay on CMT and will be released to Much Music shortly. Also both Rise With the Sun and Candlelight and Wine, two singles from Will You Wait, are getting radio play by OZ FM. "Candlelight and Wine is our latest single in Newfoundland. It's kind of neat the way we worked it because we put Rise With the Sun out here in August and its only just been released across the country in the last couple of weeks. Because it had such a good response here, that was sort of a market test for the label."

The next several months will be busy for The Punters as they promote their new CD. Starting April 5th they're on the road for seven weeks going coast to coast in Canada and then performing in the New England States. After that it's numerous festivals during the summer and in July The Punters are going to Yellowknife, NWT to perform. That's The Punters for you - energetic, talented and always entertaining. Just ask their audiences. Will You Wait is available at fine records stores everywhere.


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.


East Coast Tour Dates

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