Cori Brewster | Four Horses

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Folk: Singer/Songwriter Folk: Modern Folk Moods: Type: Lyrical
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Four Horses

by Cori Brewster

Five beautiful songs that chronicle loss, from this gifted Alberta songwriter. It doesn't croon sadness; it gallops the tears across the prairies and into deep political and enviromental meditations, invoking lost lives, landscapes and love.
Genre: Folk: Singer/Songwriter
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Let the Wild Horses Run
4:03 $0.99
2. Western Skyline
4:08 $0.99
3. Canadian Rye
3:48 $0.99
4. Lover's Kiss
3:59 $0.99
5. Bad Medicine
4:52 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Music industry lingo for a CD with five songs -- such as Cori Brewster’s latest Four Horses -- is an ‘EP’ or ‘extended play,’ but her own half-joking title is ‘extended pain’ to mark the EP’s undercurrent of loss. It is no secret that 2013 was a horrible year for Cori. A year that saw the loss of her father as well as the end of a twenty year relationship. But Four Horses doesn’t croon its sadness like other alt-country or Roots CDs might; it gallops the tears across the prairies and into deep political and environmental meditations, invoking lost landscapes and lost lives not just to memorialize but to provoke and honour.

Surprisingly, even though each of the 5 songs chronicles a loss -- the lost lives of Aboriginal youth (Bad Medicine), the loss of a habitat (Let the Wild Horses Run), the death of a father (Canadian Rye) and the loss of love (Western Skyline and Lover’s Kiss) -- the CD is far from sad. Perhaps inspired by her Buddhist practice, Cori put her long-celebrated gift for songwriting to work here in accepting change and finding in it the seeds of new sounds. She doesn’t avoid the pain; she points her musical horses straight into the blizzard but comes out with reveries and resilience.

The blizzard, in this case, is an actual blizzard. When the opportunity to co-write a song with Canadian icon Ian Tyson arose in the winter of 2013, Brewster didn’t let the scariest snowstorm of the year keep her from driving to Tyson’s ranch outside Longview where the two penned “Western Skyline” together. The song started out as a folk ballad but has since transformed into a feisty, almost rebellious cri de coeur, for standing tall. The chorus proudly accepts the curves of adult life (“My life ain’t no straight line like this Western Skyline”) and this maturity permeates the entire EP. The encounter with the legendary Tyson, his cowboy wisdom reminding Cori of the father she just lost, sparked Cori’s creative juices, helping her “to get back in the stirrups,” as she says, and write new songs.

Resilience in the face of loss cuts to the heart of Bad Medicine, the most devastatingly beautiful song on the EP. After a visit to the cemetery on the Stoney Nakoda Nation and reading John Reilly’s Bad Medicine which chronicles the myriad injustices committed against the Stoneys (from treaties broken to residential schools to cultural betrayals to corrupt chiefs), Cori wrote Bad Medicine. The Stoney Nakoda Nation, located between the foothills and the Rocky Mountains, are neighbours in the Bow Valley to Banff and Canmore, home to the Brewster family for over 125 years. Cori’s grandfather traded horses with the Stoney and she imagines what her grandfather might feel seeing the devastating effects of colonization, especially in stealing the lives of the young. The haunting drumming and incantation of the names of the dead force us to witness and acknowledge the cycle of abuses stealing aboriginal youth.

“Canadian Rye” will leave everyone in the house with a few tears rolling down their cheeks. It’s a loving testament to Cori’s hard-working cowboy father and Banff personality, Bud Brewster. The song is like Catie Curtis’s ‘Dad’s Yard’ only on wheels and with a cowboy-rhythm. You can smell her dad’s truck and taste the Rye, not that award-winning fancy Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye but the everyday Canadian Rye of a true Albertan.

The horses in Four Horses name both the electric original cover art by Janice Tanton and the wild horses of the Ghost River in “Let the Wild Horses Run.” A musical ghost story, the song celebrates the endangered wild horses that roam the foothills of the Rockies. Along with artist-wildlife-researcher Maureen Enns, Cori stealthily tracked these majestic animals and captures their mystery in music.

Lovers disappear at the same time as habitats do on Four Horses. The buffalo vanished, the smell of alfalfa is no longer in the air and the lover has left. “Lover’s Kiss” is an elegy to a lost relationship and the most traditional heart-break-folk song on the EP. With the release of Four Horses, the creative juices of Cori’s horrible year have stopped flowing and new rivers of creativity have set her on a different course. She’s taking on a new creative non-fiction project, launching her son River into the world on his own, and has fallen in love under the Blue Moon. Winner of the 2015 Mayor’s Spotlight on the Arts Award, Cori is leaving loss behind and riding into happier pastures.

Born and raised in Banff, the Rocky Mountain resort town in Alberta, where the Brewster family has resided for over 120 years. She began singing with her mom and sisters on Rocky Mountain trail rides. Like all young women do, Cori left home to experience life outside this small town, carrying with her that profound `sense of place’ wherever she went.

Buffalo Street, Cori's fouth CD earned considerable acclaim for the veteran roots artist, with some critics and broadcasters suggesting she found her true calling with the colourful collection of tales. It was named one of the Fab Five albums of 2009 by CKUA’s David Ward and earned a 4 1⁄2 out of 5 star rating from the UK’s Maverick magazine. CFMU’s Jim Marino called it “(so far) the best of 09. ... a winner from beginning to end.” Buffalo Street was the #1 Canadian album at US folk radio last July, while the song “Trono” was the top Canadian song. The song “My Familiar Sky,” meanwhile, won third place in the Calgary Folk Festival Songwriting Contest Songs of Alberta category. Herizons wrote of Brewster, “Give this woman an Order of Canada for telling us about what Banff was before it became just another tourist Mecca”



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