Tyler Ellis | Horseshoes and Handgrenades

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CANADA - Ontario

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Folk: Folk-Rock Blues: Folk-Blues Moods: Solo Male Artist
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Horseshoes and Handgrenades

by Tyler Ellis

Ellis' sophomore release picks up where the critically acclaimed "Straid Hil" left off; more stories of love, loss, and other stuff from The Great White North. "Me and my buddies and a box of stubbies sitting in the park" (from "Stubbies)... enough said.
Genre: Folk: Folk-Rock
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Nobody's Romeo
3:28 $0.99
2. Won't Really Care
4:00 $0.99
3. Re-invent the Wheel
5:07 $0.99
4. Vote of Confidence
4:33 $0.99
5. Cabbagetown
4:31 $0.99
6. Truly Rolling Stone
4:00 $0.99
7. Too Damn Late
4:16 $0.99
8. Stubbies
2:52 $0.99
9. Got Your Number
4:37 $0.99
10. Not My Fault
3:23 $0.99
11. Imagine That
3:33 $0.99
12. Shell of a Man
4:09 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Tyler Ellis is a Canadian Treasure – a hidden treasure, no doubt, but a treasure nonetheless. How someone who writes the most wonderfully understated, insightful, wry, disarming, and uniquely Canadian songs has been able to keep such a low profile for so many years is perhaps more of a testament to his own Canadianness then the stories he tells. Ellis has shared a bill with Ron Hynes, James Keelaghan, Steven Paige, and Mr. Dressup; has had a video on Much Music; has fielded calls with John Oakley on 640 Talk Radio; has performed live on Global and City TV; has periodically received local and national radio exposure; has received national critical acclaim (a half page “four star” review in the Toronto Star); and yet, happily spends most of his time writing, recording, performing locally, coaching (hockey, of course), teaching (music, of course) and spending time with his family. With the release of his new full band record, “Northern Bliss”, and the launch of a new website (www.tylerellis.ca) it seems like this time the secret might just get out. The proof is, of course, in the proverbial pudding... listen, really listen, and you will slowly unearth a treasure trove of songs that perfectly capture, in a subtle turn of phrase, the essence of the human, nay Canadian experience. The exquisitely captured wilderness experience of the “Northern Bliss” title track; the warts and all love story of “Sweet Heart” (Northern Bliss); the “TTC song” (“Serendipitous”, Straid Hill - remix); the wild teen to parent to parent of wild teen ride of “Stubbies” (Horseshoes and Handgrenades); the ‘Canada you’re standing between this East Coast Boy and his Island Queen’ refrain of “West Coast Ways” (tyler ellis live); the story of the seventh Sutter so perfectly captured in “My Brother’s in the NHL” (tyler ellis live, Northern Bliss)– track after track after track after track making you shake your head and wonder how it is possible that someone who has his finger so firmly on the pulse of this nation has lingered so long in relative obscurity. The jig is up, spread the word, Canada needs her songs, Tyler Ellis needs to be heard.

"John Prine meets a well-primed Sir John A. Macdonald... with Crazy Horse playing backup."
(Mitch Potter, The Toronto Star)

More about Horseshoes and Handgrenades:

“Horseshoes and Handgrenades”, like “Straid Hill”, was recorded “live off the floor” at Ellis' family farm, “Straid Hill”, this time in March of 1997. The performances at the farm were captured by Peter Hamilton who had been the assistant engineer on the “Straid Hill” recording session. Hamilton was also the one who almost rolled the gigantic Comfort Sound mobile recording truck (used for “Straid Hill”)... but that’s another story. This time around Hamilton brought a fantastic array of gear from his “One Fell Swoop Studio” in Toronto and set up a “control centre” in one of the upstairs’ bedrooms. After completing the live recording, the project was moved back to “One Fell Swoop” where a substantial amount of editional recording / tweaking was done. Around this time Hamilton also replaced bass player John McLean and much of the bass playing on H & H is his. Although it kind of went against Ellis' guiding principle of trying to “capture the moment”, it was, none the less, an amazing musical experience for everyone involved. The record was marvelously mixed by John Switzer at “Number 9 Studio”, in Toronto, and mastered by George Graves, at the Lacquer Channel, in Toronto. Chris Bingham commissioned a large (2' x 6') painting from artist Scott Page that was used for the cover and foldout. Horseshoes and Handgrenades was released in 1998 on Ellis' “Northern Bliss Music” label. “Horseshoes and Handgrenades” has a bit of everything. From the full throttle approach of “Truly Rolling Stone” to the not half shabby (for a self professed "rhythm player") guitar picking of “Imagine That” (a song about John Lennon), stylistically this record covers a lot of ground. It is, however, Tyler Ellis' uncanny ability to absolutely nail down the thoughts and feelings we all have in common that makes it such an incredible piece of work!

From the song "Cabbage Town" (track 5):
"Sometimes tragic, sometimes magic, if the walls had ears here's the story they'd probably tell..."

From the song "Got Your Number" (track 9):
"we both growed up, we growed up good, both become what we thought we never would. When we were younger, restless and in danger, now so many close friends they're just distant strangers"

From the song "Imagine That" (track 11):
"He imagined that he pulled from his hat a world so ideal... that no one would ever have to imagine how peace would feel... and we'd laugh at Frankenstein, just a figment of somebody else's mind, and the real Horror Show would be one we'd never know"

Ellis talks about the experience of recording Horseshoes and Handgrenades:

I felt really blessed to be able to hang around a recording studio and have the luxury of trying this or that and just seeing what sticks. The end result, I humbly submit, is a fantastic record with some of my favourite songs and some of the best playing I could ever have hoped to be associated with.



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