© Photo: Piotr Filipek
Jon McKiel is the epitome of cool. No try-hard, no nuffin'. Just his own style and his own brand of music. No small talk necessary. The Canadian songwriter has recently returned with the release of his new record Memorial Ten Count on You've Changed Records.
You get very little out of McKiel in interview. His answers are short and precise. Flamboyancy isn't part of the McKiel deal. He leaves most of the talking to his music. So, if pictures can speak a thousand words, Memorial Ten Count can speak a zillion. With this latest release McKiel and co have stretched the boundaries of what an ordinary alternative-genre release might sound like. McKiel dabs in and out of his favourite genres from the blues melancholy to the thrash. But one underlying factor throughout is the unrivaled use of the guitar. One moment it jags the perfect rhythm, the next it sings the sweetest melody. This is McKiel's forte.
"Past records felt more like a collage with me playing most instruments and overdubbing, whereas this one was live off the floor with a band I've been playing with for a few years"
"Brothers came about from us just playing around during the recording session. I had that scale written as it sounds now and the rest of the arrangement was written on a break then re-arranged by Crocker"
And so, to the important introduction of McKiel's band. Steadily involved for a few years, this release is definitely that of a group, not a solo artist. It would be fair to say that the introduction of Jay Crocker on guitar, Shawn Dicey on bass and Aaron Mangle on drums has given McKiel the edge he was perhaps missing. It's definitely our favourite effort since the solemn tones heard on The Nature Of Things a few years back, and with the strong backing of the aforementioned members, it has allowed McKiel to stick to his strengths, get the guitar spot-on, and belt that incredible voice out. For that reason, then, Memory Cook has to be the best track on the record. Hands down.