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Wednesday, 20 February 2013 14:20

Stir Crazy Blues continues March 1 with The Harpoonist & The Axe Murderer

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Six years ago, musicians Shawn Hall and Matt Rogers decided to challenge themselves, and start performing as a blues duo. Now, The Harpoonist & the Axe Murderer have been described as Canada's answer to the Black Keys, and are entertaining audiences across the country with their acoustic blues-folk sound.

 

 

“We both love blues music, and we thought it would be an interesting challenge to make a go of it as a simpler form of a band,” explained Hall. “We wanted to limit our sound to whatever we could make between the two of us, using our mouths, hands, and feet.”

 

The two met over a decade ago, when Hall was working on a radio jingle for a Jamaican pizza place in east Vancouver, and Rogers provided the guitar music. While Hall and Rogers never officially met while working on the jingle, they had the opportunity to get together several months later.

 

“That was the beginning of our musical friendship,” Hall noted. “We are complete opposites, really, and the longer we are together I find that a lot of other relationships are similar to ours. A friend recently compared us to Laurel and Hardy. But I think we balance each other out really nicely, opposite characters that drive one creative entity.”

 

Together, the duo create raw, honest blues music that are helping them build a name for themselves across Canada. Hall noted that while he's pleased with the sound of their record, which has been a success, it's important to see them live to truly experience their unique sound.

 

“We love being able to build as much texture as we can, while being really true to the groove and as melodic as two people can be,” he said. “We drive this big, rhythmic train down the tracks, and really bring it to people live. The blues is such a great primal form of expression, we all feel this great joy and pain and lust and thirst for things, and it really cuts through everything else. You can't fake the blues, it's got to be honest of people won't buy it for a second.”

 

Although Hall admits that live shows are where the duo truly shine, he does get nervous before a show. He hopes that the fear allows them to maintain a humbleness and humility that makes for easier, deeper connections with the audience.

 

“We are really starting to catch on now, after doing it for six years, and that's really amazing,” he said. “We don't want to let people down, and we don't want to let each other down. I think that really helps us to buckle down. I enjoy the rewards of that – it keeps us open and fresh, and we have this very human relationship with the people we're meeting. I don't see a whole lot of other performers look so exhausted and sweaty half-way through the first song – we don't saunter on and off-stage. It's hard work.”

 

Their hard work is paying off. With a successful debut album and fans across the country, The Harpoonist & the Axe Murderer are quickly becoming one of Canada's favorite blues-folk acts. But Hall admits that the name can be confusing for some.

 

“People often think we're like, European death metal or something,” he admitted. “But harpoon is slang for harmonica – I'm a harpoonist. And Matt plays the guitar, which is also known as an axe. So if he's killing on the guitar, that makes him an axe murderer. About one in a thousand people get the name, but it's a reference to a Kris Kristofferson song.”

 

The Harpoonist & the Axe Murderer will be performing at the Lyric Theatre on March 1, as part of Blenders' Stir Crazy Blues Festival. Tickets for the concert are $25, and a festival pass for the three nights is only $60. Contact Shann at 306-778-2686 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for tickets or for more information.

Read 1648 times Last modified on Wednesday, 20 February 2013 14:23
Jessi Gowan

Reporter/Photographer