Ottawa-based singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Catriona Sturton (Tall Trees Recs) is releasing her debut record Bumble Bee January 10th at Raw Sugar Cafe. Sturton has made a name for herself nationally as a musician and worked with artists such as Joel Plaskett, Al Tick, Rolf Klausener, John Carroll, as well as members of Sloan and Blue Rodeo. From Japanese garage rock venues to American juke joints, she’s got a pretty interesting rap sheet.
On top of being a very strong singer and songwriter, Sturton has become well-known for her proficiency playing the harmonica. She derives her style straight from the Mississippi of old, cutting her chops at local blues establishments and learning from harmonica masters such as Larry “The Bird” Mootham and Carlos del Junco.
Bumble Bee explores the full spectrum of emotion, as Sturton delivers songs that hit hard and leave the listener feeling like they just experienced a performance in a run-down whiskey bar in the heart of the Delta. She opens the album with the truly badass songs “Mongoose Moan” and “Heavy Weather,” setting the tone for the entire record.
When you’ve been through the darkest of nights, all those things whisper to you sayin’, ‘You’ll be alright, alright, well.’
Just one more bite, one more kiss, one more sip. You throw it away, for just one more hit.
The slide guitar harmonica combo, along with Sturton’s vocal melodies, give this album its own distinct quality and flavour that isn’t particularly common in Canada. The hollow feel of the album is intentional and effective – with the raw, edgy, foot-stompin’ feel of Bumble Bee, Sturton leaves nothing on the table. It is a show of true musicianship when an artist with only a few instruments can transfix the listener the way she does.
There are moments where she breaks from the blues, such as “Tea for Two” and “Wheel of Fortune,” which offer a nice change of pace at those particular junctures. One of the other turning points is her harrowing cover of “Black is the Colour,” a traditional Appalachian folk song. Like a lot of the songs on the album, don’t be surprised if you experience goosebumps. What better way to finish off the album than by giving a little shout out to Ian Manhire and The White Wires in “Wheel of Fortune”?
Don’t miss Catriona Sturton at Raw Sugar Cafe this weekend as she releases Bumble Bee with special guest Kaitlyn Zarzour.