A car pulled off the highway in hesitation, a pair of work boots sitting in a closet, the repeated plea of ‘give me something’; gritty songs soaked with questions of usefulness and purpose saturate the latest album from Keith Jolie.
With twenty three, Keith Jolie presents an album where the song stories take front stage with vocals that range from tender to angry and broken. From the opening “Strings” through to the closing “She”, twenty three is book-ended by consideration for the story from the perspective of the strings, pictured as characters in the stories they tell, through to the muse (She) that inspires them.
Between the bookends, are a series of stories of seeking answers. “Carolina” hides the anguish and anger that results from being deceived in the clothing of a joyful anthem that begs to be sung. “Bad Boy” and “Secrets” take a slight turn towards Americana/country with stories of bad choices, regrets and could-have-beens.
As the album progresses, the levels get turned up with “Steel” and “Give Me Something” that scream of the perspective of age and experience and what is left at the end of the day or a life of work. “Running” a Canadian anthem of a young man that travels from Ontario to the Rockies like so many before.
Twenty three has been a solitary exercise for Keith Jolie who performed, engineered, and produced all the songs on this album. The songs are a collection that were written over the last few years with a few exceptions. “She” is a reprisal from an EP that was put out on cassette tape in 1993, while “Strings” was written and recorded in the last week of working on the album; bookends both chronologically and in the sequence of the album.
This is the latest album from Keith Jolie who’s discography includes:
1993: The Turn EP
1996: Songs from a Black Notebook
1998: City So Cold
2008: Sidewalk Stories, Endsville album. lyrics and music written by Keith Jolie.
2015: The Beauty ep
2017: twenty three
Keith Jolie Bio
Blues and roots inspired City-Folker
Keith started singing mostly cover songs in music bars in the Brantford area in the 1990s. For about a year, Wednesday night residency at punk music venue The Turnaround gave him a venue to test out his own material. Playing acoustic guitar in a punk bar was also where he figured out how to earn the attention of an audience.
In the 90s he played shows in Brantford, Toronto, and across Ontario with bands like Transistor Sound and Light Company, Made, and By Divine Right. Soon he moved to Toronto and starting at open mics in the Kensington Market area before branching out into gigs across the city where he could hold his own as a solo act on a bill with full bands. After a couple of years playing pubs 6 nights a week in Irish Folk Bands he moved to Calgary where he spent some time writing, and performing before heading back to Toronto.
In 2005 Keith formed a new band called Endsville. and released Sidewalk Stories under the Endsville name before returning to his solo roots.
Since 2009, Keith has continued to write, record and perform and is now living in Hamilton. His latest album "twenty three" is due out late 2017.