Harlan Howard used to say that all you need for a great country song is three chords and the truth.
But when you take simple, southern-style country, folk and blues music and put it in the hands of a killer guitarist, a whole world of people who never even knew they liked country, folk and blues music in the first place start sitting up and paying attention.
After successfully making old sound new again with his last two efforts, Borrowed Horses and Cluck Old Hen, Canadian Joel Fafard set out to reverse the tide and make the new sound old with his latest album, Fowl Mood. The songs were born in the woodshed next to Joel's Studio.
The first melodic themes and bone structures came from chopping wood in the rain to heat the family home.
"It seems there is nothing harder than keeping a song simple. It's the reason the last two records were based on old classic southern tunes. I was studying how to get inside a simple song," says Joel.
To get the right feel for Fowl Mood it had to be recorded live off the floor, which has become the standard recording practice for Joel ever since he recorded the Juno-nominated record, ... and another thing ... in 2006. Such a humble recording practice can reap great benefits, but is not very common in the digital era of pitch perfect polish. More than half the tracks on Fowl Mood are first takes.
"The vibe was good and we just kept moving onto the next song," says Joel. "I was feeling free, the solos were improvised. It turned out pretty much the way I hoped it would."
Joel Fafard is in Whanganui and playing at Lucky Bar + Kitchen on Sunday, February 23. Tickets are $20 at the door and the show starts at 7.30pm.