Casey and the Centretown Wilderness Club in the Press

CBC Radio
CC and CWC on the charts
Ottawa Citizen 30/12/06

Exposure Magazine
Upfront Magazine
Ottawa Citizen 21/9/06
Ottawa Sun
Centretown News

CBC Radio
Brent Bambury talks to Casey Comeau for Notes on Notes -- listen here

on the charts

Earshot - #1 the week the album came out
Earshot October 2006 - Top 200 - we're at #164

Ottawa Magazine
October 2006

Named Best of Fall - Rising Scene Star

10 tracks you can't miss
Fateema Sayani
Ottawa Citizen, December 30, 2006

Taking a page from music mags of our youth and with a nod to compilations of past like I've Never Been to Ottawa and Ottawa Cassettera, we present an imagined Ottawa mixed disc with songs pulled from local releases of 2006. Enjoy.

1. I Am the New Number Two, by The Reverb Syndicate from Operation: Jet Set!: Spy soundtrack send-up is a chi-chi romp of surf and sass. Available at iTunes,, End Hits, Compact Music and Birdman Sound.

2. Straight 'n' Narrow, by Evil Farm Children from Knuckle Duster: Slick rockabilly from Dick Dale-loving trio with rock-out resolve. Available at or Birdman Sound.

3. Bible Wood, by Lefty McRighty and the Boxcar Cadavers, from Lefty McRighty and the Boxcar Cadavers: Naughty yuk-yuk country-rock track penetrates the cool crust of nu-twang. Available at or Compact Music.

4. Dutiful by Harshey, from Blue Sweater: Morality-lite tale with call-out line "Why don't you bottle it and sell it back to me" is short, speedy chuckle punk. Available at Birdman Sound and End Hits.

5. Fighter by The Habit (Internet single release): A poppy rallying cry for same-sex marriage rights. Available through

6. The Sky Changed Again by As the Poets Affirm, from Awake: Musical gang does improvisational maneuvers making their case for instrumental angst without a single utterance. Available at

7. Albion Road Song by The City Above, from Mongrel Comets: Winsome, down-on-my-luck neighbourhood tale is sung to tender, tear-stained guitar rock. Available through

8. Routes, by Casey Comeau and the Centretown Wilderness Club, from Taking Routes: Finely wrought country tune where guitarist Richard Jeffrey takes the mic with his handsome, brogue-y vocal to remind us that "we live in patterns programmed by it all." Available through and

9. Live the Evolution, by Sadie Hell, from The Our Power Solar Music Compilation: Ben Welland (guitar/vox) and Cindy Olberg (cello) do downcast daydream pop. The comp benefits Our Power, a Toronto initiative that brings affordable solar power to neighbourhoods. Available at

10. One I Love, by Craig Cardiff, from Fistful of Flowers : Wakefield songwriter does R.E.M. in a haunting roots-rock style that brings Kelly Joe Phelps to mind. Available through iTunes.

Ottawa Buzz: The Best Of 2006
Friday January 05, 2007 @ 06:30 PM
Caitlin Crockard

While the capital slowly stretches and yawns from its post-holiday slumber, the slow period is a good opportunity to turn around and remember 2006. In a nutshell: if you haven't paid attention to some of these Ottawa artists yet, you're missing out. Here are a few albums from the past year that really deserve some nationwide attention:
• Million Dollar Marxists — Zero Culture: For its pure, visceral, punk-influenced energy.
• The Acorn — Tin Fist: For teasing us with an EP that hints at their beautiful, melodic talents and the promise of something bigger and better to come.
• My Dad Vs Yours — After Winter Must Come Spring: For knowing exactly how to craft an instrumental melody using layers, tension and a delicate touch.
• As The Poets Affirm — Awake: For striking the perfect balance among experimentation, pop smarts and joyful jams.
• Mark Wilson — Endless Elevator Tour EP: For taking folk, an unconventional voice and intriguing lyrics, and letting the lovely results float by, while introducing Ottawa to a fresh new talent in the process.
• Muffler Crunch — Ol' Sparky's Revenge: For its fierce acoustic guitar, even fiercer drummer/singer, and an unholy racket you won't soon forget.
• Melissa Laveaux — Camphor & Copper: For her inventive rhythms, complex song structures and husky voice.
• Ukrainia — Ukrainia: For reinventing traditional Ukrainian songs with a huge smile instead of an ironic smirk.
• Camp Radio — Camp Radio: For the irresistible power pop and crunchy rock hooks.
• Department Of Foreign Affairs — Northern Living Northern Lights: For impeccable harmonies and joyful pop songs.
Also worthy of your attention are The Soft Disaster's Rough/Stalls, Four 'N' Giv'r's Psychle, Casey Comeau & The Centretown Wilderness Club's Taking Routes, The McGillicuddy Sisters' Hillbilly Hijinx, The Reverb Syndicate's Operation: Jet Set, The John Henrys' Sweet As The Grain, The People Project's self-titled debut, Souljazz Orchestra's Freedom No Go Die, The Soiree's Birds, Weapons Of Mass Seduction's Desperate Men And The Women Who Love Them, and Jetplanes Of Abraham's self-titled debut.
All of the above made a name for themselves live before cementing their reputation in recorded form. So why not check out some live locals yourself, and maybe make a new discovery for 2007?
The People Project and The Uptown Strugglers play the Rainbow Bistro on Friday. Saturday, it's the fourth Annual "Giv'r To Your Liver" show at Barrymore's, featuring Twelve34, Sindication and Ladymilk. Or you could head next door to Babylon for The Souljazz Orchestra instead.
Million Dollar Marxists and CPC Gangbangs play Babylon on Jan. 11. The Bella Bombs release a new album and perform along with The Shifters, Muffler Crunch and The Fucking Machines at Babylon on Jan. 13.
—Caitlin Crockard

Mademoiselle Music: We Rock Therefore We are
Upfont Magazine November 2006
by Angie Neatby (AKA The Barbarian)

The Riot Grrrl thing is f'n boring. Deliver me from stitch`n' bitch soirées and their attendees: "women" with a "Y" that just end up talking about boys over their vegan potluck. It all shoulda went in the hellfire with Guatemalan pants and Pearl Jam. For one thing, feminism should be ever present, lasting and should transcend all thicknesses and consistencies of bullshit. Over time I've made a handful of female friends who are on the same musical mission as myself - to express themselves with honesty & creativity through this powerful medium.

Broads who bust ass to get to the jams on time, ladies who leave their pussies at the door `cause they know only too well that rocking out for the sole purpose of proving something about your gender is freakin' weak! They know that true musicianship has nothing to do with the false strength of making sure every member of your band gets a period. Nothing to do with strutting and tissue thin, talentless facade of the stripey-socks, ironically ugly earrings and floppy bangs set.

It has everything to do with focus, determination and confidence...

"Here's the thing, Angie..." local country music darling Casey Comeau (of the Centretown Wilderness Club) begins, ruminative and tweaked by my declaration: "...when you get into "ists" and "isms" you're almost certain to get yourself in trouble. There is no denying that women are treated differently than men and that this is preposterous and harmful, but talking about feminism can actually reinforce the cultural stupidities that divide humans into gender roles and expectations. We can be even smarter than feminism".

When I'm playin' drums & singin' for Muffler Crunch, I'm not trying to project some kind of cliché "She-Macho" in the hopes that, once cast out, will penetrate, instantly shrivel and harden every male audience member's balls to Lychee fruit. When I'm bashin' the skins on my shitbag drumset, I'm usually a lot more concerned with communicating something - and the same things that any dude might be: "Am I gonna break a stick? the guitar loud enough in the monitor?...are my nipples showing?".

"As for music, I don't get booked for shows because I toss my hair and giggle until some promoter gets a hard-on and invites me to be on the bill. I've had to make my own shows happen because I am disconnected from the `tits `n' ass' currency of rock `n roll" chortles local "Cruise Ship" cabaret & glam rock splash Mackenzie MacBride of Mackenzie MacBride & The Supermodel Syndrome. "I'm a rock diarist who lets you know that I've been through worse than a broken nail at the prom and a guy that didn't love me."

Discussing the case of women in relation to music with this group only cemented the idea in my mind that females, forced into a henhouse, will quickly and naturally exhibit all of their individual idiosyncrasy and character. Too often, women are lumped into the " have a pussy, you're assuming she has one too, therefore you MUST feel some sort of flimsy solidarity together. Not necessarily. Girls have left my show simply because they didn't relate to my bellowing in the name of the devil and my "sasquatchian" drumming, dismissing it as nothing but a "tough girl" act. Some have Kali and some have Céline Dion. Hell, some have Rita MacNeil! No common thread can be drawn between them!

"We can free ourselves by recognizing the ways in which we are culturally conditioned at every level...not just in terms of masculine/feminine..." Comeau adds in her trademark, ego-free certitude. No doubt there's messy calamity dripping all over the business of categorizing for the sake of comfort. An inner-directed drive within a woman can set her apart from the mainstream, LuLu Lemon sponsored race to matriarch's postion. You would never write an article entitled: "Guys That Rock"...ok, maybe "Guitar World" might. But you wouldn't assemble Frank Zappa's spirit, Eminem and fuckin' Yanni in the same room unless you were casting for a black `n white Jim Jarmusch flick....but to ask them to relate to one another as people? They've all got (or had) cocks? That's enough, right?

"I'd rather use my bass drive pedal to get attention and maybe if he can still hear after that, I'll buy him a drink and we can have a conversation" replies Julia Loan, bassist & occasional vocalist for Ottawa's Tokyo Sex Whale, when asked: "Do you use your sex as a weapon?". Ok, so the question was loaded. Many girls these days are so eager to turn on the "Turbo Tits", even if there ain't no ammo behind it! Bottom line is: if you're shootin' off in every direction, but they're all blanks, you just look like an arsehole - male or female. But Julia wasn't takin' the bait - and I've always known her not to. Growing up, playin' music "beats sitting on the couch with `the girlfriends' smoking cigarettes". Chicks have got two choices: sit quietly and assume your position as one of "the girlfriends" (a species of woman whose role is to act as an adornment to rock `n roll, to wear the prescribed skull & crossbones wristband and to see that your douche guitarist boyfriend always has a cold beer waiting for him between your legs). Second option: arrive at the wood panelled basement, instrument in hand, prepared to play and to be taken seriously. "...hanging backstage" continues Julia "makes [the girlfriends] feel important when they should be focusing on their own career and on being independent".

Further into the conversation, it was evident just how Different these women were from one another. Loan cites many male influences as well as female, most recently diggin' on the ultra-heavy phenomenon, Mastodon. MacBride laughs: "Cyndie Lauper and Jesus Christ!" and Comeau names the ghostly, pensive work of Neko Case as well as the the "rough and raw...but friendly" work of Fred Cole amongst many others.

But at the root of it all, when asked, bluntly, Why they do what they do, there was that classic tradgedy, that underlying commonality that all artists, regardless of sex, seem to share: "I do it because I can't help it, like most artists. It's probably an unhealthy obsession with amplification of sound. Because I'm a communicator. A space explorer: open space, outer space, aural space, physical space and performance space" Comeau reflects. MacBride hopes to "inspire people" as a woman, simply "with a strange song in her heart".

In the womb, nature's physiological dream comes to fruition - but it seems that it's only the instant that you exit the birth canal that the concept of "self" seems to blanket you like a sheer veil, or worse, a weighty armour. In my opinion, if what impels a person to create is inborn, I suppose their sex might shape how it's expressed but it shouldn't have much effect on how it's interpreted. And in a world where we enjoy the luxury of having time to suffer existential crisis, music can fill your breast replete (whether they're bonafide mammaries or the overweight man's equivalent, "bitch tits") with hope and soothing catharsis. Macbride imparts:

"Recently I was sitting in a dismal cafeteria amidst office workers. They wore mass produced Suzy Shier clothing, and stared blankly into their Styrofoam trays of oversteamed beets as if [they] were the Magic Mirror on Romper Room and could tell us where we all went wrong. As if this scene isn't bad enough they pipe "slit your wrist" style easy-listening music into the room from the ceiling. I was immediately taken back to the early days when I first discovered radio. Music can just kind of take me back. Even better, it can take you away. Away from Styrofoam dinner trays." And always remember easy listening is evil no matter the gender.

Casey Comeau: Zen and the Art of Songwriting
by Fateema Sayani
Ottawa Citizen, September 21, 2005

Casey Comeau's finely wrought country songs are delivered through a Zen lens. The Ottawa singer-songwriter is a yogi in cowboy boots (when not off on a retreat, she often performs in her trademark green-with-pink-star horse kickers) and her new album -- recorded with backing band The Centretown Wilderness Club and co-written with CWC guitarist/romantic other Richard Jeffrey -- melds her many influences. Taking Routes (Music For Cats Records) is a five-song EP that's fluent in Cash and Dylan and has a girlie cast, thanks to the pretty melodies and many strings and things. Aalya Ahmad plays fiddle and manjo (mandolin/banjo), Marie-Josee Houle is on accordion, Dietrich Sider tends the electric bass guitar and Michael Sheridan is on drums.

"The songs that ended up on the album are the prettiest songs we had," Comeau says. "For me, making music is about sincerity and beauty."

The lyrics reflect that mindset. Dragonfly Funeral Pyre is about life cycles, and was inspired by a trip to the cottage. Comeau and Jeffrey gave a dead dragonfly a fitting end and the comforting campfire call describes it simply as "a question of another kind." The EP is bookended with Routes. Jeffrey takes the mic with his handsome, brogue-y vocal to remind us that "we live in patterns programmed by it all."

So, isn't all this stuff about enlightenment clouding the country in a genre in which songs are championed for their lyrical simplicity? Comeau says it's about having the best of both worlds.

"We love the traditional-sounding music, but it comes out sounding modern because we're in the city. We're not sitting in the haystack, plucking on the banjo." Casey Comeau and the Centretown Wilderness Club's EP release party takes place at Irene's Pub, 885 Bank St., Saturday with The McGillicuddy Sisters. 9 p.m. $10.

Ottawa Sun, Sept 20, 2005
by Allan Wigney

The first voice we hear on the new Casey Comeau CD is not that of Casey Comeau. Rather, it is Richard Jeffrey, co-writer of country siren Comeau's songs and lone survivor of last year's transition to her Centretown Wilderness Club quintet from Comeau's disbanded Halfmilers.

Comeau joins in soon enough, and takes over the lead for the bulk of the melancholy songs on the Wilderness Club's Taking Routes EP. But 18 months into its existence, drummer Michael Sheridan, fiddler Aalya Ahmad, accordionist Marie-Josee Houle and bassist Dietrich Sider--is very much a band. Jennifer 'Casey' Comeau's band.

"I have learned that bands come and go and if you want to build continuity it's best to work under your own name," Comeau says of her separate-but-equal status within the combo. "I suppose really Richard and I are more of a duo -- we even played a duo show earlier this year -- but that evolved after the band started.

The songs of Comeau and Jeffrey (with guest lyricists that include Comeau's mother and her zen teacher) have likewise evolved into poignant dissertations that go beyond girl-loses-boy songs to more universal themes.

"The songs are about life on this planet, really," Comeau explains. "Richard and I are both fascinated by nature. We live in the city but we still live among animals -- human and otherwise."

Centretown News - Sept 30, 2005
Bringing country music to the city
by Andrea Simms-Karp

They've got routes that they take
They move differently in the evening than they do in the morning

-Lyrics from Routes, written by Richard Jeffrey, describing the movement of small Centretown animals

If the name is any indication, new band Casey Comeau and the Centretown Wilderness Club will be one of the fresher additions to the Ottawa music scene in recent memory.

The six-piece all-star group includes members from a handful of local bands, including Kepler, Golden Famile, Mono Hum, The Halfmilers, Folkin' Eh, Casadore and The Hussies

The band shies away from convention, mixing accordion, bluegrass fiddle, acoustic and electric guitars, with the standard bass and drums.

With plans to record a full-length album this winter, and maybe even do a bit of touring, this band's future looks as wild as, well, the wilderness.

Comeau, a local singer/songwriter and a regular fixture in the city's music clubs, says the unique name suits the personality of the group.

"We play, rehearse and live in Centretown, for the most part," she says, "And there is a wilderness theme running through a lot of our stuff, I mean, here we are in the city playing country music."

Comeau muses about the band's humble beginnings, playing outdoor festivals or backyard parties for fun. Many of the members had already played in bands together, or knew each other by musical reputation. After doing some test-run rehearsals, the group played a handful of shows that took place in the wild outdoors.

Before long, they had found a name, a rehearsal time, and a distinct sound that brings a feeling of open space into the city.

"The way that we write songs isn't to try to maintain a certain genre," Comeau says "You're always going to find different influences going on."

Nothing could be truer, says Aalya Ahmad, who plays fiddle in the band.

"We are a motley crew of styles," she says, adding she has recently bought a "manjo," - a banjo-mandolin hybrid - to try out in rehearsal.

She points out that the band's songwriting, done by Comeau and the band's guitarist and vocalist Richard Jeffrey, helps to mesh everything together.

"Each song has its own take on life," she explains. "I really admire their songwriting. It's mournful in that good way."

The group's accordion player, Marie-Josee Houle, echoes the same sentiments.

After moving to Ottawa from Edmonton two years ago, Houle says that the band gives her a chance to use the accordion the way nature intended: without lederhosen.

"I hate most accordion music," she admits, quickly condemming all things polka. "I see my role in the band as being the texture...accordion can be very overwhelming."

She is not alone in her love for pushing the musical envelope: Comeau's second instrument, after learning the guitar at the age of eight, was the bagpipes.

Comeau says she is glad she has Mike Sheridan on drums and Dietrich Sider on bass to balance out the group's quirky musical mix.

Plans for a full-length album are moving ahead, says Comeau, so fans will soon be able to take the group's music home with them.

And until the recording is slipped into tight cellophane wrappers, a quick tour might just keep the music flowing.

"It's time to take the Centretown out of Centretown," Comeau laughs. "We are really just having fun."

Exposure Magazine on
Casey Comeau & Centretown Wilderness Club w/ Mercury Pickup & Tom Glenne 5.5 (Irene's Pub)
by Scott Brown

Those familiar with the Canadian indie scene will remember Casey Comeau with her band the Halfmilers who released their debut CD Dancing with Bones on the reputable Ottawa label Music for Cats Records back in 2003. Since then Casey has collaborated on many projects of which the Centretown Wilderness Club is her latest.

Opening for Casey on this Saturday night (January 14th, 2006) is Vancouverite Tom Glenne and his band the The Tom Glenne 5.5. Although living on the west coast Tom has his main band in Toronto and they will be releasing a CD this month called Free Rock. The Tom Glenne 5.5 travel the whole rock gambit with forays into stoner-rock, '50s rock and roll, and modern rock. He played songs off the upcoming album including: "Have You Got Soul?" and "Llama Face." Since the night was about to be filled with country-tinged music, it was strange for Tom's Band to open, and even though the music was out of place, it was still enjoyable.

The evening started picking up when Trevor Alguire took the stage. Since most of the patrons at Irene's Pub were there to hear the country-styling of Trevor and Casey, it was no surprise that the noise level raised as Mercury Pickup started playing. Trevor, with the help of the great pedal steel player Tom Thompson and others, put on a great show covering a bunch of new songs that will be on their new release called As of Yesterday. We reviewed Mercury Pickup's first CD Narrowed Down, (Read it here, half way down page) and the second CD, if this live version is any indication, should be even better. Songs like: "Through Me," "Blink," and "Misty Morning Light" were highlights. Mercury Pickup's Website

After a short break, Casey and the Centretown Wilderness Club (that is, Richard Jeffrey - vox, guitar, Aalya Ahmad - vox, fiddle, MJ Houle - vox, accordion, Mike Sheridan - percussion, and Dietrich Sider - bass) took the stage with massive audience approval. As with Tom and Trevor, Casey and the band will be releasing a CD soon and gave everyone an indication of its appeal with live versions on Irene's stage. It was quite impressive to hear both an accordion and fiddle on stage together. Casey was her attractive self in her signature green leather pink-starred cowboy boots and shoulder-to-shoulder tattoo. Highlights of the concert included the songs: "Fredericton Juke," a song written by Casey's mother, "Du Rhum des Femmes," a song showing Casey's abilities in the French language, and "Birthday Song for Casey Comeau" a slower song that allows Casey's voice to come to the fore.

Although Casey is the center of attention anytime she hits the stage, the Centretown Wilderness Club is far from a backup band. They have four vocalists who have the pipes to lead and Richard Jeffries writes the band's songs (with Casey collabourating).

© 2006 Casey Comeau and the Centretown Wilderness Club