Keys And Chords
Available on iTunes and CD Baby September 2, 2016
In 2007, Canadian guitarist & singer/songwriter Ross Neilsen had an epiphany. He quit his job, left his relationship, moved out of his house and into his car. Neilsen spent the next two years couch surfing and began the never-ending tour schedule that he would become known for throughout Canada. The road-honed his craft into a well-oiled machine of stories and song. Music has taken Ross throughout Canada, Mexico, The Olympics, The Pan Am Games, The Hill Country region of Mississippi, The Swampy rivers of Louisiana and even to Macon, Georgia where he was privileged to play the holy grail of blues, rock and soul; Duane Allman's 1957 Les Paul Gold Top. 2015 found Neilsen in clubs, homes and festivals throughout Canada. Last fall, after nearly a decade of touring, Neilsen took a break from the road for the first time. Neilsen used the touring break to write new material for his sixth studio album,Elemental, which will be released on September 2nd, 2016.
Writing has always been at the forefront of what Neilsen does but after attending a Steve Earle songwriting workshop in 2014 and taking time off the road in 2015, everything changed. The desire to write better songs was more important to him than ever. “I just wanted to write and record good songs and not be worried about what genre they fit in”, says Neilsen. “I wanted to assemble a great band and serve these songs the best they deserved. If that meant handing over lead guitar duties to make the best recording we could, I’m certainly ok with that.”
The band assembled consisted of Jim Bowskill (Sheep Dogs) on Guitars/Violins/Pedal Steel/Mandolin/Vocals, Darcy Yates (Bahamas) on bass, Matt Sobb (Monkey Junk) on drums/vocals, and Juno award winner, Steve Marriner, on Production credits as well as guitars/harps/vibes/drums/keys/vocals. The sessions would be recorded and mixed by Ken Friesen (Tragically Hip/Blue Rodeo/The Sadies). The week’s results are pristine, crystal clear recordings of the best songwriting of Neilsen’s career. Also of note are the co-writes on this album. Producer Steve Marriner contributes on the spooky blues of the title track, “Elemental”, the JJ Cale styled funk of “The Arrow” and the beautiful album closer “Step Into The Light”. Canada’s poet laureate of the blues, Paul Reddick, contributes to “City of Regret” and Peter Hicks from acclaimed Maritime Americana act, Sleepy Driver, co-wrote the mid-tempo, R&B, horn groove of “The Race”. The latter was written in The Warthen Cafe in Lowell, MA, which is reputed to be the haunt of young Jack Kerouac.
Neilsen has been nominated for four East Coast Music Association Awards, four Music New Brunswick Awards and two Maple Blues Awards. Neilsen has won two Music New Brunswick Awards for Best Blues Recording, two CBC Rising Star awards and was a semi-finalist in the 2012 International Blues Challenge.
On Elemental, Neilsen completely abandons the singular genre format. The result is an album of Neilsen’s influences used to tell a biographical story that spans ten years. Driving blues-rock (Woman’s Name), heartfelt ballads (Step Into The Light), classic R&B (The Race), straight up blues (Black Coffee) and a nod to one of Neilsen’s biggest influences, Willie P. Bennett (Ballad in Low E), are all proudly displayed on this incredible new album from one of Canada’s hardest working musicians.
1. Elemental 3:13
2. Black Coffee 3:17
3. Woman’s Name 4:05
4. Devil Made You 4:41
5. Ash Fault 3:19
6. City Of Regret 4:24
7. Nobody Gets Lonely 4:59
8. The Race 3:35
9. The Arrow 4:06
10. Ballad In Low E 2:57
11. Step Into The Light 4:54