Wide Mouth Mason bring their scrappy three-piece blues-rock  to Red Deer on Wednesday

Wide Mouth Mason bring their scrappy three-piece blues-rock to Red Deer on Wednesday

Wide Mouth Mason get scrappy

In this era of flawlessly engineered albums, Wide Mouth Mason singer Shaun Verreault is making a case for “raggedy, un-tweaked” music, with edges that catch. “Music that’s really produced is not made for dudes like me,” said Verreault, who performs with his “scrappy” three-piece blues-rock band on Wednesday, July 15, at Red Deer’s Westerner Days, opening for Big Sugar.

In this era of flawlessly engineered albums, Wide Mouth Mason singer Shaun Verreault is making a case for “raggedy, un-tweaked” music, with edges that catch.

“Music that’s really produced is not made for dudes like me,” said Verreault, who performs with his “scrappy” three-piece blues-rock band on Wednesday, July 15, at Red Deer’s Westerner Days, opening for Big Sugar.

“Some of the recordings I love best are flawed recordings,” said Verreault, “… where Aretha Franklin sings Dr. Feelgood and her voice cracks with this amazing emotion. …” Where Michael Jackson can be heard catching his breath, or “taking a second to get right to the pitch of a note. …

“You can hear that a human being was singing that,” he added.

By comparison, when you listen to some of the computer-enhanced and modulated voices on radio today, “It could be anyone,” said Verreault.

Since moving to Vancouver from Saskatoon 14 years ago, he’s seen acts like The Police (on a reunion tour) and Prince at semi-private rehearsal shows that were held in the city before the performers would embark on long North American tours.

“Their stuff would still be a little rough … a little raggedy. But it was magical hearing it,” he said.

Verreault believes the energy and emotion of live performances, the “collaboration” between musicians and the audience, are what makes music interesting. Wide Mouth Mason likes to jam for these reasons, and most of the band’s music comes out of those sessions.

The group’s last album, No Bad Days, was recorded quickly from full performances, rather than being produced with layered engineering techniques. “It’s not a Michael Bay production,” said Verreault, referring to the special effects-happy Transformers film director. “There’s no green screen, with stuff to be added later. … It’s just three guys and their instruments, some energy and spontaneity, and about capturing rather than manufacturing something.

“What speaks to us is the truth of that moment,” he added. Sometimes when you’re playing, “you’re going for something you’re not sure you can do. It’s about the magic of hitting that something. If you can’t hit it, then you move on and try something else.”

He believes musicians can achieve things in concert settings they would be hard-pressed to later repeat in studio. The encouraging effect of the crowd’s energy is “unbeatable.”

Wide Mouth Mason was formed in 1995 by Verreault, his buddy since elementary school, drummer Safwan Javed, and bassist Earl Pereira.

Pereira left the band in 2010, just before Wide Mouth Mason was to go on tour with ZZ Top, so Verreault and Javed asked their record producer, Big Sugar’s Gordie Johnson, for his recommendations on lining up a new bass player.

“He recommended himself,” recalled Verreault, with a chuckle. “Who says ‘No’ to that?”

After the tour, Johnson officially joined the band — and it’s been a great fit, musically and personally.

Johnson’s “loose, funky and gritty” approach exactly aligns with Wide Mouth Mason’s sensibilities, said Verreault. “Between us, so much goes unspoken. We come from the same place musically, we’ve known each other for years. He’s seen us play thousands of times and knows what we’re capable of as musicians. …”

Plus, Johnson is a good “hang,” he added — the kind of guy you don’t mind spending time with in a touring van.

The three musicians are now in the process of compiling songs for the band’s next album. “Most often we start with an idea I have as the singer/guitar player,” said Verreault. “We email ideas about the chorus and couple of versus, then we get together for a few days to attack the stuff,” musically.

There are already more potential songs than ever lined up for the next album. Verreault said blues and rock are influences that Wide Mouth Mason doesn’t deviate from. “We’ve always been about two worlds — the Hendrix experience, and The Police/Prince kind of stuff. …”

Yet “everyone’s still open to experimentation, working efficiently, there’s lots of ideas floating around if you sat us in a room.”

The beauty of the Wide Mouth Mason/Big Sugar concert at the Centrium is that Verreault and Javed get to play with both bands, later joining Johnson in his larger reggae-rock group.

“Saf and I are only children, so we get to choose who our brothers are,” said Verreault, who considers it pretty great to be with people with whom he can share both music and laughs.

The 8 p.m. concert in the Centrium is free with gate admission to the fair.

lmichelin@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

The Sylvan Lake Gulls celebrate a sixth inning home run from Nolan Weger on Sunday during a game against the Edmonton Prospects. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Historic opening weekend for Sylvan Lake Gulls

It wasn’t perfect, but perhaps that was the beauty of it. Fans… Continue reading

The Government of Alberta identified 115 new COVID-19 cases Sunday, bringing the provincial total to 3,089.
(Black Press file photo)
Alberta reports 100 new cases of COVID-19

The Central zone sits at 218 active cases

Three Hills RCMP recovered stolen copper wire during recent investigation near Kneehill. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Fatal ATV rollover near Innisfail Saturday

A 77-year-old man from Red Deer County died Saturday after an ATV… Continue reading

Firefighters and emergency services workers helped celebrate Barry Young’s 85th birthday at Timberstone Mews on May 29. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
Firefighters in central Alberta make birthdays special

A fire truck arriving outside your house is not normally good news.… Continue reading

A view of Two Jack Lake in Banff National Park is shown in this undated handout photo. More Canadians are expected to leave their passports at home this summer and hit the road in Canada as the weak loonie and low gas prices prompt a deeper exploration of their own country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Travel Alberta *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Report: Alberta losing residents to other parts of Canada

As the COVID-19 pandemic slowly winds down in Alberta, residents are continuing… Continue reading

A large number of supporters were out Saturday at a rally intended to bring awareness about including Hinduism in the grade 2 portion of the K-6 draft curriculum. As it stands now, Hinduism won’t be taught until grade 6 in the proposed draft curriculum. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Video: Rally to support adding Hinduism to draft curriculum draws crowd in Red Deer

The Hindu community in Red Deer came out in droves on Saturday… Continue reading

Orange shirts, shoes, flowers and messages are displayed on the steps outside the legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Tuesday, June 8, 2021 following a ceremony hosted by the Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations in honour of the 215 residential school children whose remains have been discovered buried near the facility in Kamloops, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Alberta city cancels Canada Day fireworks at site of former residential school

City of St. Albert says that the are where the display was planned, is the site of the former Youville Residential School

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Germany's Robin Gosens, left, celebrates Germany's Mats Hummels after scoring his side's fourth goal during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group F match between Portugal and Germany at the football arena stadium in Munich, Saturday, June 19, 2021. (Matthias Hangst/Pool Photo via AP)
Germany clicks at Euro 2020 with 4-2 win over Portugal

MUNICH (AP) — Germany finally clicked into gear at the European Championship,… Continue reading

Fans cheer on their team during the pre-game warmup of Game 3 of the NHL Stanley Cup semifinal with the Montreal Canadiens facing the Vegas Golden Knights, in Montreal, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
COVID-19 concerns give way to Habs Fever in Quebec as Montreal continues playoff run

MONTREAL — The sun hadn’t yet risen in Montreal on Friday morning… Continue reading

Coronavirus cases are on the rise from India to South Africa and Mexico, in a May 19, 2020 story. (Photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
As Brazil tops 500,000 deaths, protests against president

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Anti-government protesters took to the streets in… Continue reading

A black bear cub forages for food along a salmon stream below a bear viewing spot for tourists in the Mendenhall Glacier Recreation Area in Juneau, Alaska.  (File photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Bandit responsible for vehicle break-ins is a black bear

THORNTON, N.H. (AP) — Surveillance video helped police get to the bottom… Continue reading

FILE - In this April 25, 2019 file photo, Editor Rick Hutzell, center, gives a speech to his staff including Chase Cook, Nicki Catterlin, Rachael Pacella, Selene San Felice and Danielle Ohl at the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Md. The editor of the Capital Gazette, which won a special Pulitzer Prize citation for its coverage and courage in the face of a massacre in its newsroom, is leaving the Maryland newspaper. Hutzell, who worked at the Annapolis paper for more than three decades, authored a farewell column that was published on the paper's website Saturday, June 19, 2021. (Ulysses Muoz/The Baltimore Sun via AP)
Editor of paper that endured newsroom shooting says goodbye

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — The editor of the Capital Gazette, which won… Continue reading

Most Read