It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost two years since I first saw Blue Sky Miners at Lee’s Palace. A lot has changed since then. For the band that meant rounding out their lineup, polishing and fine tuning their sound and writing and recording an incredible debut EP.
The EP starts with the single, “Cold Water”. The song builds both in instrumental and vocal intensity with Jay and Jena doing an excellent job of feeding off each other’s energy. The contrast between their voices is nothing like that of July Talk’s Peter and Leah, and for this band the complementing versus contrast is perfect.
“Are You Lost” picks up with the same energy the “Cold Water” ends with. There’s a certain urgency to Jena’s vocals in this song coupled with the fast pace of the music that makes it hard to resist the chase. While their roots in folk are still present, they’ve delved further into rock/alternative, which is emphasized by the addition of the newer members of the band, Stefan on drums and Mark on bass and the excellent guitar work brought by all around cool guy, and multi-instrumentalist, Eric.
“Bones” is one of my favourite songs on the EP and leans more on the rock/alternative side of the Blue Sky Miners spectrum. There’s a bit of grit to the vocals, that gives the song an edge. I like the literalness of “Oh these bones are hallow and the marrow’s with you.”
I really like how “Six Feet Small” starts. The build and alternating repetition of “Why you gotta be so aggressive, aggressive pushing me? Why you gotta be so oppressive, oppressive pushing me?” is supremely well done, and then just when you’re expecting the building energy to continue going forward, you’re surprisingly hit with Jena’s smooth and gentle vocals, and mellow music, and the next time you hear that question, it doesn’t seem as rough.
I think it’s probably no surprise that if I had to pick a favourite track, “Riot” would probably be it. The album itself is great, and each some amazing in its own different and unique way, but “Riot” just brings everything together. It highlights, Jay and Jena as lead vocalists, as well as their harmonies. It picks up where everything the band showed with their song “Three” left off. It shows the growth that this band of musicians, storytellers and friends have gone through. And what better way to end an album than with the word “Goodnight.”
In everything this band does, they invite you with open arms to experience a journey with them. You can see it both individually on each song of the album, and also on the album as a whole. But it’s not just in the music. Their live show is a warm, welcoming, and also mind blowing experience, that is not to be missed. Celebrate the release of Blue Sky Miners’ debut self titled EP at the Horseshoe Tavern tonight. The band takes the stage at 11:30, but as I’ve learned over the years, the bands they pick to play with are generally also not to be missed, so come for 9:30 and see Torero and Ferraro beforehand and The Old Salts afterwards. We’ll see you there.