Booth not playing Reggae Festival

By Peter Hemminger

Calgarians who remember Aaron Booth solely from the prog-ish Shecky Forme might be surprised to hear his current work since moving to Toronto. It’s a brand new sound, the kind stripping the listener of any reservations and guard he or she may have. Almost entirely abandoning the experimental bent of his former band, Booth has wholeheartedly embraced the solid songcraft and undeniable melodies of Americana, folk and classic pop music.

Booth’s solo records have met with universal critical acclaim, turning him into a critical darling. Transparent, released in 2002, has the British press comparing him favorably to Ron Sexsmith, both for his melodic sense and his way with lyrics. The album includes an ode to New York–a city he’s never visited–and some of the more honest love songs ever recorded.

The Endearing Records release Our Last Escape, Booth’s most recent effort, was called “the year’s first really good Canadian album” by Exclaim! and “a gleefully inspired and inspiring creation” by Chart Magazine.

With more lush arrangements than the relatively sparse Transparent, Our Last Escape moves further away from the folk of his previous work and into pop territory. Despite it’s inclusion and revamping of two songs from Booth’s 1999 EP Tune Up, Our Last Escape is a clear evolution for the artist. Having won over the Canadian press with his two full lengths and audiences nationwide with his constant touring, Booth is sets his sights on a larger target: the world.

The first phase in Booth’s quest for global musical dominance is the release of a split EP with Finland’s Treeball as part of Endearing Records’ Intercontinental Pop Exchange. It’s the fourth in the Winnipeg label’s IPX series, which pairs Endearing artists with like-minded groups the world over in a spirit of harmony, communication, and mutually-beneficial marketing. While it won’t be officially released until September 14, clever fans can visit to buy the album for a mere eight dollars, including shipping, a full month before it hits stores.

Phase two consists of a full fledged world tour, beginning with a trek through western Canada in August, including two stops in Calgary: the Bamboo Lounge on Wed., Aug. 18, and Weeds Cafe Thu., Aug. 19. The tour then moves through Europe in September, ending up in the most logical destination for any classic pop artist, Japan.

For those Japanese shows, Booth will share the stage with an acoustic pop group called Ogre You Asshole, who will also serve as his backing band for that leg of the tour. Things come full circle when Booth returns to Ontario with Treeball, his IPX EP-mates.

Phase three, of course, will involve mind control, genetically engineered super-monkeys, and a ragtag group of freedom fighters in a desperate bid for global pop supremacy. Not really, but be prepared for the global pop supremacy bit anyway.

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