I don’t know what The Del Fi’s are; the more I think about it, the more I don’t know what to say. But I know it’s right, and I know it’s good. I know it works. I mean, it’s Jerry Leger’s thing, but when I asked him what he would say The Del Fi’s are, all he would tell me is that I (meaning me) am The Del Fi’s, just as you (meaning you) are The Del Fi’s. And because you are you, you understand. Don’t you?
Okay, maybe we should try this again. Jerry Leger is a Toronto singer/songwriter, and one of the best in the world, as far as I’m concerned. If you haven’t heard him, you have no right to be one of these people constantly moaning about how music was so much better when people actually played instruments, blah, blah, blah. Jerry’s released six albums and an EP—each one better than the last—with help from folks like Ron Sexsmith and Michael Timmins of Cowboy Junkies. He turned 30 this year, and he loves Bob Dylan, Neil Young and John Lennon. Sometimes it sounds as though all three are fighting for space in his songs.
But those songs are his own, the product of a natural born storyteller with a sense of rhythm that would make Little Richard’s big toe shoot up in his boot. Jerry’s songs hit deep in your soul, but he also often loves just making music with folks just to flex some of his old time rock and roll muscles, and explore some of the paths his songwriting normally doesn’t take. That’s kinda where The Del Fi’s come in.
On Friday, June 19, 2015, Jerry assembled members of his band, The Situation, along with about 10 other musical friends, at Aaron Comeau’s recording-studio-in-a-trailer in Toronto’s east end—yes, the studio is called The Trailer—and over the course of that long, highly-charged day, laid down 11 songs for this album they’ve called Crowd Pleaser. Now I know what you’re thinking; why should I care about a bunch of dudes who got together in a trailer and made an album in a day? My response is, take a listen and then tell me that this isn’t one of the most vibrant, heartfelt, funny, poignant and all-around human records you’ve heard in a long time. All of these guys are young, but they’ve lived. Let’s never forget that practically all of our musical heroes did their best work before the age of 30.
The location of the recording is fitting too. If any album could be said to have an “east end sound,” Crowd Pleaser most certainly does—tough, raw, sincere, and unrepentant. There’s a song called “Rockin’ In The Funeral Home,” two distinct versions of which bookend the record. No, it’s not the Monster Mash, but at the same time it’s no maudlin Irish wake sing-along either. It’s simply a great rock and roll song, and there’s plenty of others on the album just like it, such as “It’s Always Saturday Night,” “Baby Coming Up The River” and “Noisy Bars,” not to mention “The Junk Today,” for my money the best country song I’ve ever heard not written by someone named Townes. It’s rock and roll that we all care about right? I’m sure you wouldn’t still be reading this if you didn’t agree. So I guess that does make you a Del Fi. Welcome aboard and grab an instrument, we’ve got a show to do.
Jason Schneider (with apologies to Derek Taylor)
1. Rockin’ In The Funeral Home #1
2. Brigitte Bardot
3. It’s Always A Saturday Night
4. She’s Got A Warrant
5. Baby Coming Up The River
6. Who’s Been Haunting You?
7. Tabletop Jukebox
8. Noisy Bars
9. The Junk Today
10. (True Love) You Can’t Kill It
11. Rockin’ In The Funeral Home #2