After playing and singing for over 25 years with Ron Sexsmith, Rheostatics, and many others,and producing a wide variety of artists, Don Kerr is now writing and singing his own songs under the name Communism. These songs are equal parts thoughtful, melodic, and upbeat.
Communism is a high energy rock trio with rich vocal harmonies from guitarist Paul Linklater and bassist Kevin Lacroix. Don Kerr sings lead and plays drums. Communism will release its debut album in early 2015. It will be a triple album recorded in three vastly different musical formats – rock trio, dance music, acoustic, plus an interactive web-player that will allow people to remix and add their own parts to the songs.
Canadian Festivals that Don Kerr will be playing this summer include…
Field Trip, Mariposa, Hillside, Interstellar Rodeo, Calgary Folk Festival – with Hydra (Feist, Snowblink, AroarA)/ ArtsWells – with Bidiniband, Ben Sures, and Communism/ Edge of the World Festival (in Haida Gwaii) – with Bidiniband and Communism/ Ottawa Jazz Festival and Greenbelt Harvest Picnic – with Ron Sexsmith/ Toronto Live Green Festival – with Communism
Don Kerr (drums, vocals), Paul Linklater (guitar, vocals), Kevin Lacroix (bass, vocals)
Veteran roots troubadour Ben Sures is best known for writing quirky, highly entertaining and original folk songs that have won several of the continent’s top song-writing honours – and landed him on a best-albums-of-the-year list in Now magazine.
But ever since the beginning of his career, Sures has also moonlighted as a blues sideman, lending his picking prowess and his ear for vintage guitar sounds to esteemed Canadian acts like Harp Dog Brown, Paul Reddick, Rita
Chiarelli, and Big Dave MacLean.
On Son of Trouble, he marries his mastery of the blues with his trademark idiosyncratic songwriting style for the first time, and the result is a truly oneof- kind side project.
Mixed by Guy Clark-producer Miles Wilkinson and long-time CBC Saturday Night Blues producer Dan Cherwoniak, Son of Trouble is the blues album only Ben Sures could make – a veritable world tour of blues sounds, featuring songs in three languages coupled with Sures’ unmistakable wit and whimsy.
“I Could Be Your Man,” is a modern take on the classic, trying-to-pick-up-achick country-blues song, jam packed with unforgettable pick-up lines like “I’m Darth Vader with a carburetor.”
“Eat, Drink, and Make Babies” is a kick-ass, irreverent ode to the trailer park life that borrows its plugged-in energy from Chicago blues.
“The 99” could be described as a “punk blues” piece that weds Wayne Gretzky with the occupy movement in
a way that only Sures could.
“Je Chanterai Pour Toi,” is a cover of Boubacar Traoré’s tender love song that preserves the African flavour of
And “La Luna et Tu Mirada” is what you might call a Spanish blues rendition of the Los Zafiros number.
The “raw” sound of the album owes much to the circumstances of its creation. It was recorded in a mere three
days at Don Kerr’s studio in Toronto. It features Paul Reddick on harmonica, Brian Kobayakawa (Creaking Tree
String Quartet) on bass and Ken Whiteley on piano and backing vocals on “Eat Drink and Make Babies.”
Those unfamiliar with Sures’ history might be surprised at the depth of his blues literacy – he plays the whole
album using the vintage thumb-on-the-Fender-Music Master style! But Sures’ credentials in the art form are,
in fact, right up there with any of today’s top Canadian players.
He discovered Robert Johnson at age 15, and promptly learned to play about half Johnson’s repertoire. He
took guitar lessons from street musicians in Winnipeg – and a few from Lenny Breau’s son, Chet. He then
paid his dues as an itinerant street musician for the better part of a decade, often performing in Winnipeg with
Ben Darvill of the Crash Test Dummies. In fact, “Son of Trouble” is, in part, a tribute to Darvill’s “Son of Dave”
moniker. It’s also a rough translation from Yiddish of Sures’ name.
From those early days as a street musician, Sures has carved out a recording and touring career that has
spanned more than 20 years and six acclaimed albums. Though he has never scored the proverbial “folk hit,”
he has established himself as one of the most stalwart and enduring members of the Canadian scene, the kind
that can always be counted on for a great night of entertainment in a coffee house or folk club, and the kind
that helps bring a folk festival workshop stage to life.
He’s played the Winnipeg, Edmonton and Calgary Folk Fests. He opened for Alejandro Escovedo, the
Preservation Hall Jazz Band, and the Kinks’ Ray Davies. He’s served as a sideman for Carolyn Mark, Corin
Raymond and Ferron. And he won the folk category of the prestigious John Lennon Songwriting Contest with
“Any Precious Girl,” a unique, unsentimental and celebratory song about a young woman with bipolar disorder.
He’s been a regular on CBC Radio’s The Irrelevant Show. And his most recent album, Gone to Bolivia, made
Sarah Greene’s Best-of-the-Year list for 2011 in Now magazine.
On Son of Trouble, he showcases a lesser-known side of his musical personality while maintaining the
characteristics that are distinctly Ben. Arguably, his eccentric writing and performing style make him one of the freshest additions to the blues scene in quite some time.