“Soil, Salt and Sea” by Cold River Choir

‘Soil, Salt and Sea’ by Cold River Choir
In early 2010 singer-songwriter Gavin Simms got the itch to start a band that could bring to life the songs he had been toiling over in solitude for so long.

“It got to the point that I couldn’t keep spending so much time writing new songs if I wasn’t ever going to give them a chance. Why keep collecting albums if you’re never actually going to get a record player and play them and appreciate them?” says Simms.

Gavin’s efforts to recruit band-mates yielded Sam Mackenzie (bass), Even Brennan (electric guitar) and Paul Brace (drums) and Cold River Choir was born.

“Writing is my favourite part of the process.” says Simms. And it shows in the band’s beautifully constructed and arranged songs, like today’s “Soil, Salt and Sea.” Its gentle, understated verses, layered with organ, acoustic guitar and brushed drum backbone, build into a climactic, rejoicing chorus and bridge. Later it goes one step further and erupts into a frenzy of guitar-jam rock.

Gavin feels it’s important to be patient with a song, giving it time to fully develop and take form before setting it free. He cites bands that take a similar approach to songwriting as influences, like Wilco, Dr. Dog, Josh Ritter, The Band, and My Morning Jacket.

This past fall they received a grant from Music NL to record a demo, and they set out to narrow their 25-plus songs down to 3 for the EP.

“We recorded with Don Ellis at his studio,” says Simms. “It’s an old house that’s sort of hidden in the city, full of instruments and gear, like you’d imagine… it was an awesome spot to hang out in the middle of winter and play music and eat candy cigars…”

“On this song I think you can actually hear the wind pummelling outside the window in the last seconds when things quiet down. So the house got a few words in too, which is nice,” he says.

The band has no set date for the demo release as of yet but Gavin reassures us that it will be out “as soon as is humanly possible” so the boys can get started on their first full-length record. In the meantime you can enjoy today’s track from the upcoming EP. You can also catch Cold River Choir live at the Ship this coming Saturday (July 9th) with Sherry Ryan and The Enablers, and Halifax’s Acres & Acres.



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Sarah Smellie

19 June 2008

  1. Tom · June 19, 2008

    Great, great tune….Up until the jam band part.

  2. jdb · June 19, 2008

    Aw, I LOVE the jam band part!