Nothing beats an out-of-the-blue phone call from a musician. No publicists, no agents, no management — just someone who wants to say “Hey, I’m coming to your town, and I hope you can help me let people know.” It’s the best part of my job, except for the random Timbits.
Weird Al called me once, out of the blue. Jon Bon Jovi, too. So did Amanda Marshall, and you’re allowed to think for a second to remember who that is. It happens, and it’s fun, and it gives me a chance to chat music with someone who knows what they’re talking about.
This week it was Charlene Birkbeck, known as just Char, who fronts the band Wolfheart. She emailed me and called me a few minutes later, and we had a fine, fun talk about what it’s like to front the current century’s take on a power trio.
“We thought for a long time about a name,” Char says. “Wolfheart is really about bringing out the animal in you. It really does explain what we’re doing.”
Char, who’s from Whitby but is now based in Victoria, finished Mohawk College’s jazz music program and headed west, playing with a few outfits, singing rock and blues, before gelling with Alex Campbell and Aidan Logins and coming up with the Wolfheart concept.
“I was really lucky to connect with Alex and Aidan,” she says from B.C.
The trio, who just signed with Woodrock Music Canada, is on the road with new CD Subtle Bodies, that rocks hard over a strong melodic base. A lot of other writers compare Wolfheart to Metric, but I’m not going to do that. Someone else said they sound like Heart, and that’s a little more accurate, but doesn’t really explain their very unique approach: Organic rock with electronic elements, all powered by passionate vocals.
“It’s modern rock, more modern than (jazz training),” Char says after explaining how she loops her live vocals onstage to create big, beautiful sounds.
Wolfheart plays The Spill on Saturday afternoon, a matinee show at the downtown spot. Char’s happy to hear a description of the concert spot.
“We might blow the walls off the place,” she laughs.