Chris Landry and the Seasick Mommas /
Two ninety three
Release Date: Nov. 28, 2019
Genre: Americana / Singer-Songwriter
Songs by Chris Landry (MAPL/SOCAN)
Stephen K. Donnelly at Tenvolt Audio
Chris Landry and the Seasick Mommas make the kind of roots music that could be described as, well, rootless. Yes, their sound has a lot of familiar elements—haunting melodies, unflinchingly honest lyrics, raw vocals, shimmering pedal steel—but above all it is the deeply personal stories Landry tells that set him apart from other singer/songwriters.
Two ninety three is the new offering from the Ottawa-based group, the follow-up to their 2017 debut, One fifty five. Why the numbered titles? These are the addresses where Landry was residing when he wrote the records. And like the previous album, Two ninety three was recorded at Ottawa’s Tenvolt Audio. Landry sings and plays guitar, Stuart Rutherford plays pedal steel, Jim McDowell plays keys, Kerri Carisse and KJ Thomas sing backing vocals, Steve Donnelly plays bass and Chris Buttera plays drums.
Although One fifty five received praise for being, as one Ottawa critic put it, “a sad and lonely album tinged with folk and country songwriting of old,” Landry’s intention with Two ninety three was to explore a fuller band sound and adapt his songwriting accordingly. “I think the longer I do this, the more I’m able to let the creative process happen more naturally and allow the songs to develop on their own,” he says.
In keeping with that philosophy, Landry believes the music can speak for itself rather than attempt to explain it. Like two of his formative idols, Willie Nelson and Neil Young—the band name Seasick Mommas is borrowed from Neil’s “For The Turnstiles”—Landry strives for simplicity and directness while simultaneously turning the tables on tradition as artists such as Sturgill Simpson and Daniel Romano have done so brilliantly in recent years.
If there’s any way to describe how Landry and company approach music, it is being in the moment. Terms like “folk” and “country” are essentially just a framework through which Landry interprets the world around him. And through his insights, we can hopefully better understand ourselves.