Toronto multi-instrumental, roots/rock/folk duo Sunparlour Players (Andrew Penner on vocals, guitars, banjo, bass, organ foot pedal, percussion, and Michael “Rosie” Rosenthal on drums, glockenspiel, banjo, bass, shouts, keyboards), much like their new tracks, are firmly in the here and now, yet look out to the future. Their fourth album, ‘The Living Proof’ was officially released on April 8, 2014, and is followed by a huge Canadian tour.
From shredding guitars, pounding drums, searing synth lines to howling vocals, ragged banjo, and a spoken word recipe track, ‘The Living Proof’ sees the band continuing to expand their sound, embracing folk, electronic and punk influences. It was recorded in Toronto at Lincoln County Social Club and The Cellar, and, as with 2011’s ‘Us Little Devils’ (one of the best folk records of the year in Exclaim!), was produced by Chris Stringer (Timber Timbre, Wooden Sky, Rush).
Extensive touring, including gigs with Mumford & Sons, Blue Rodeo and Plants & Animals, as well as their own headlining schedule won the band accolades across Canada. On stage, Sunparlour Players take their audience through a roller coaster of emotion, thunderous stomping one moment and delicate strumming the next, always backed by boundless energy.
Penner and Rosenthal, who also score music for film and television (including Small Town Murder Songs, One Week and Lost Girl), state, “The songs on The Living Proof are living things that exist now. They do not harken back, nor romanticize. They are hopeful, and the lyrics are very important to us.”
“So many songs need to be protest songs at this point,” Penner says. “Bless This City” is significant for a few reasons. Andrew grew up on a tomato farm near Leamington, Ontario, which recently suffered a blow with the Heinz plant closing. Also, Rosie was born and raised in Toronto and the band as a whole realize that there are many challenges that face the city, so the lyrics “who runs this town?” are especially meaningful.
“Soapbox” just had to start the record. It is a tipping off point, a jump; lyric video for track #1:
Track #2, “I Hope This Isn’t The End For You” > https://soundcloud.com/sunparlourplayers/i-hope-this-isnt-the-end-for-you
Reviews and Media Quotes
Interview article; “there aren’t many bands that could be sandwiched between metal acts or mixed into a folk festival.” – Cam Fuller, Saskatoon StarPhoenix, April, 2014.
Live review; “if you have not seen the Sunparlour Players perform live before, you’re missing out on a powerful transformative experience.” – Alan Neal, CBC Radio Ottawa (All in a Day), April, 2014.
Album review; “Andrew Penner and Michael Rosenthal (“Rosie”) make a glorious racket out of everything… It’s the juxtaposition of folk sounds and rock bluster that makes this so different…Take that, Mumfords.” – Bob Mersereau, Top100canadianblog.blogspot.ca/CBC TV & Radio, April, 2014.
Album review; “9/10 – Thoughtful instrumentation and rich vocal harmonies bring the best out in these songs. The result is a bold display of Sunparlour Players’ passionate songwriting and delivery, and a great album.” – Kristin Cavoukian, Exclaim.ca, April, 2014.
Album review; “it just feels right and like the best-rounded album Sunparlour Players have ever offered their fans. The Living Proof is about as close to a flawless album as the band has come to” – Bill Adams, GroundControlMag.com, April, 2014.
Live review; “The show last night in Winnipeg was amazing. I’ve been a big fan of this band since their first album, and they keep getting better and better.” – Jeff Robson, CJUM 101.5 UMFM (Tell the Band to Go Home and Steel Belted Radio), April, 2014.
Video/song review; “there’s a full and vigorous sound to the track, and mainman Andrew Penner is a superior lyricist. A ‘Soapbox’ worth paying attention to.” – Kerry Doole, NewCanadianMusic.ca, March, 2014.
‘Sunparlour Preserves’ are so popular they now have a dedicated track (#5) on the new album (narrated by Hugh Oliver) – “How To Make Ginger Bourbon Apple Butter”. Growing up on a farm in a southern Ontario Mennonite community, Andrew Penner knows canning and makes all the preserves. In the beginning, before the band had any wares to sell, Andrew was making mustard one day and thought it was a good idea to raffle it off at the next show. It became an immediate hit and now sold at all shows, and earned them a sponsorship with Bernardin Canning Jars.
INFO and ALL TOUR DATES: http://www.sunparlourplayers.com.
Toronto’s multi-instrumental duo Sunparlour Players have captivated audiences for seven years with incredible live performances and three critically acclaimed albums; ‘Hymns For The Happy’ (2007 – Baudelaire), ‘Wave North’ (2009 – Outside Music) and ‘Us Little Devils’ (2011 – Outside Music). Their latest, ‘The Living Proof’ (Outside Music Distribution), is their most powerful and personal effort to date; creating a perfect time capsule of what makes the Sunparlour Players one of the best live acts in Canada.