Joe had a banjo. Jay wanted one (11 photos)Wednesday, September 18, 2013 by: Donna Hopper
Jason (Jay) McLeod (vocals, guitar), Carl Rumiel (vocals, pedal steel), Joe Gagnon (guitar, banjo, vocals), John DeLorenzi (drums), and Rachelle Risling (bass, keys, vocals) - known collectively as Porter - celebrated the release of their fist full-length album last week at the Water Tower Pub.
Feat of Heart was recorded, mixed and produced by McLeod at his home and features 12 collaborative tracks of original alt-country.
"With three singer-songwriters in the band, ideas are brought to the table and we hash them out as a collective," McLeod told SooToday.com. "The songs are all very different and they come from different places. There's a lot of classic country influence. They tell a lot of stories."
It's this collaboration that makes playing in Porter fun, say both McLeod and Gagnon, and the continuous stream of new material helps keep the experience fresh.
"Also, our jams are more like get-togethers," said Gagnon. "We spend as much time talking and joking around as we do playing."
Porter's style is surprisingly focused considering the musical background of some of it's members - Gagnon has played in a number of local rock and punk bands, Risling is a classically trained pianist, and McLeod is heavily influenced by the likes of Pavement and Wilco.
McLeod, a completely self-taught guitar player, became drawn to country after digging through those who influenced the artists that inspired him to first pick up a guitar.
For Gagnon, it was a tad simpler.
"Jay drew me into country. I had a banjo and he needed one," he laughed.
With 50 original compositions under its belt, Porter is primed to record further material once the excitement of Feat of Heart winds down.
"I love recording," said Gagnon. "Some of the best times I ever had in high school was when we'd rent a four-track and stay up all night recording."
"I like recording, but for me it can sometimes become a solitary endeavour," McLeod, the proclaimed recording task master, told us. "It makes me appreciate more when we do all play together."
In the mean time, fans of Porter can purchase Feat of Heart from the Rad Zone in the Wellington Square Mall, Case's Music (636 Queen St. East), or from iTunes.
Keep an eye open for upcoming Porter gigs here.