How did The Jimmyriggers get started?
Andre and I first met at an open mic several years ago. At such gigs it was a familiar sight seeing musicians jumping up on stage to back each other up with harmonies or harmonicas. Andre and I clicked vocally and musically. We started playing as an acoustic duo until we were joined by Ram Krishnan on drums in 2005. At that point I made the switch from acoustic guitar to bass. For the first three and a half years we played as an alt-country power trio. But of course all bands are transient beings, and Ram left us to play bass for the Unsettlers in 2009. Following that we joined forces with Mark Goodwin of Lazarus Moan (formerly Lil Buck) to record a new album. He loaned us his drummer, R.D. Harris and together the four of us made “I Stand in the Weeds”. Following its release, Mark and R.D. joined us on the road taking the record to the Maritimes in the spring of 2011. But not wanting to keep them from their own projects, we have since solidified our lineup by bringing in Kevin Moquin to play lead guitar and lap steel, and, more recently, veteran drummer Lewis Handford.
What’s in store for The Jimmyriggers in 2012?
We plan on bringing I Stand in the Weeds to Ontario, a market we seem to have neglected a bit since last year. And since we toured there twice quite successfully in 2011, we will be returning to the Maritimes again. But we certainly won’t forget to keep playing in Montreal at least once a month. Beyond continuing to tour and play locally, we recently launched our website, http://thejimmyriggers.com, where we will be posting a new blog every Wednesday at noon. There has been talk about recording, but at this point we’re still only just thinking about planting the seeds of a new album.
What’s going on at O’Patro Vys on February 18th?
The show at O Patro Vys is our first one of 2012. It feels a tad late for a first show, and it follows a two-month hiatus for us, so to make sure we’re still in shape, and to do something special for our friends and fans, we decided to record the show and make it into a live album. We have some new songs, and we have plenty of old songs, and we’ve got plenty of numbers that’ll get people dancing. Our goal is to capture the energy that we’ve managed to infuse into our performances over the past couple of years. But the best part about this show is that we’ve got Sarah Jane Scouten and the Brilliant String Band playing the opening set. Sarah Jane recently released her debut album “Magpie Waltz”. She is a talented performer with very heartfelt songs.
What is your favorite venue to play in Montreal and why? What is your least favorite venue to play in Montreal and why?
Every venue has their little quirks, whether positive or negative. I really don’t think there’s necessarily a “bad” place to play in Montreal. Any establishment that’s willing to support live music is doing something right. Some just do it better than others by being more accommodating to the bands. I usually judge the quality of a venue on whether or not I enjoy seeing a show there. Divan Orange has great sound, O Patro Vys is comfortable with a professional stage, Centre St-Ambroise is intimate, and the Mainline Theatre has a neat setup with zero separation between the artist and the audience. But for overall atmosphere, Grumpy’s bar is number one on my list.
Who are your favorite Montreal bands?
I don’t want to play favourites. We have a strong community of roots rock acts in Montreal and we all support each other. If I were to start dropping names I’d be afraid of forgetting someone. But some bands have recently released new records that need to be advertised. I’ve already mentioned Sarah Jane Scouten and her new album “Magpie Waltz”, The Dirt Cheap Winos have put out a great EP, The Steady Swagger just launched “… and they call it Whiskeybillie”, and David Simard wowed me with his record “Slower, Lower”. But of course our hats are off to the departed United Steel Workers of Montreal. Former front man Gern f did so much to make our scene tangible, and they will be sorely missed.
You’ve mentioned that The Jimmyriggers have opened for CCR, how did that come about?
We entered a contest on a local radio station’s website. I uploaded a video of us performing the song “Modern Warfare” at our album launch. I didn’t think much of our chances; I didn’t even tell any of the band members, not even Andre. When we got word that we had won three days before the show, I had to scramble to make sure everyone was available to play the show!
Explain what people can expect from your new record “I Stand in the Weeds”.
When we made our first album, “Traveling Salesman, Killer on the Run…”, we wanted to record how we sounded as a trio. There was bass, drums, and electric guitar, but nothing else. The approach to I Stand in the Weeds was completely different; we decided to record the definitive versions of our songs in a way that they might not always be heard, making the record and subsequent shows entirely unique experiences. Mark Goodwin produced, and we hired Rick Haworth to play pedal steel, and Eric LeMoyne to play keys (organ, Rhodes piano, accordion). The songs themselves were a bit more polished than on our first record. We worked to ensure that musically and lyrically there were feelings of fear and hope, despair and redemption. The result is an interesting aural landscape that varies between rock and country, light and dark, with an underlying optimism. And we have never been more proud of anything we’ve created.
Where can people find out more about The Jimmyriggers and buy your music?
Everything anybody would ever want to know about us is on our website: http://thejimmyriggers.com. There you can read our bio, watch videos of us in concert, read what the press has written about us, and find links to our Facebook page and Twitter feed. You will also find links to both of our albums on CDBaby, Bandcamp, and iTunes.