CUFF THE DUKE
ERNEST JENNING CO.
“IT’S ALL A BLUR”
Sean Michael Turrell
May 15, 2010
Hey friends it’s Andy Gesner and the HIP Video promo staff, excited to call your attention to a brand new video from a group of stellar musicians and songwriters from Ontario. Here at HIPVideo, we see plenty of clips of bands playing to packed, enthusiastic houses. It’s always impressive to watch. But every once in awhile, a group is brave enough to send us a different kind of performance video — one where the groupmembers boldly take the stage and play their hearts out in front of a sparse crowd. In the clip for “It’s All A Blur”, the setting is elegant, the crowd is impassive, the musicians are well-dressed and completely committed. And when the night is over and the sun comes up, the four members of Cuff The Duke bow to the empty hall and take to the railroad tracks.
It’s a confident performance, and one that suits the mercurial temperament of the Ontario quartet. Cuff The Duke makes aching, spectral, gorgeous folk-rock, familiar and experimental. Their glittering recordings manage to be hooky and psychedelic; the vocal harmonies sparkle; the synthesizers buzz and blur, the pedal steel soars. “It’s All A Blur”, the lead single from the recently-released Way Down Here, is a twinkling roots-rock masterpiece — one that builds from a soft semi-acoustic strum to a storm of reverbed six-string. Singer Wayne Petti’s voice quakes with emotion — but there’s no question that he’s firmly in command.
The members of Cuff The Duke are loath to show off, but their superb musicianship is apparent in everything they’ve recorded. They’ve proven it on the road, too, sharing stages with the like-minded Hayden and Calexico and blowing away discerning crowds all over North America. This June, they’ll be back on the road with Blue Rodeo (whose Greg Keelor produced Way Down Here with great sensitivity and depth), streaking through America before returning to Ontario in time for the Northern Lights Festival.
Lights decorate the beautifully-shot clip for “It’s All A Blur”, too. Illumination sparkles off of the band’s country-classic red-glitter suits. The stagelights throw halos and crosses up on the stage; with the band in action, it’s sacred space. Some of the footage of the band is positively dreamlike — drummer Corey Wood is captured in a spotlight, playing a roll on the snare and otherwise standing impossibly still. It all underscores the isolation and vulnerability of the performer, but there’s strength in everything they do, too. Meanwhile, the few listeners in the concert hall are having intense experiences of their own: their reactions to the music might not be immediately visible, but they stare back at the camera with remarkable vigilance. The lens slowly zooms in on their still faces, exposing the oddness of their expressions, but also their vibrant personalities.
We’re very excited to be working with Ernest Jenning Record Co. to bring you this tantalizing new act and we’ve got copies of Way Down Here for your enjoyment and on-air giveaway needs so please don’t hesitate to be in touch! The band will be touring select US markets in June, so please get in touch with us to set up a video interview with the band! If you need more info, call Andy Gesner at 732-613-1779 or e-mail us at info@HIPVideoPromo.com. You can also visitwww.ErnestJenning.com, or www.CuffTheDuke.ca to find out more about Cuff The Duke.
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