Heavy Bell (feat: Matt Peters of Royal Canoe), w/ guests @ The Almanac

Heavy Bell (feat: Matt Peters of Royal Canoe), w/ guests @ The Almanac

This event is expired ( Jan 20, 2018 )

JCL Productions presents
Heavy Bell (members of Begonia, Royal Canoe, Imaginary Cities)
w/ guests
Sat, Jan 20
The Almanac
10351 82 Avenue
Edmonton, AB
All Ages and Licensed, Doors at 7 pm
Advance tickets on sale now at YEG Live online and Blackbyrd Myoozik
Direct link: https://yeglive.ca/events/heavy-bell/jan-20-2018/the-almanac


By Grand Central Station adapts influential CanLit novel to song. Album features members of Royal Canoe, Begonia, Imaginary Cities and the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra.

Heavy Bell shares video for “Certainly” today. Canadian tour dates announced.

Inspiration works in mysterious ways. For two members of Winnipeg’s arts community – one an indie rocker and lead vocalist in tilt pop outfit Royal Canoe, the other appearing regularly on theatre stages across Canada – were looking for a piece of writing to channel into song. What Matt Peters and Tom Keenan found was a piece of writing that has, since its publication in 1945, come to be recognized as “one of the half-dozen masterpieces of poetic prose in the world,” a novel bought and burned by the author's mother: By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept.

As Heavy Bell, Matt Peters and Tom Keenan have added new layers to the literary legacy. The lyrics in Heavy Bell’s songs are sourced primarily from the novel, either as full passages or impressionistic collages of moments stitched into verses. "Sometime in the winter of 2009, Tom and I sat by the piano in his house on Maryland Avenue in Winnipeg with a copy of By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept," says Peters. "It was unlike anything I had read. The intensity of her experience and the vivid, lyrical language made the songwriting feel somewhat inevitable."

“We let the flow of the words dictate the form of the songs, rather than adhering to standard structures,” Keenan adds. “The story is told through emotion rather than action: her inner world is enormous, tempestuous. It takes over the world around her and tosses her like a boat on the sea.”

The precise geometry of a multitude of voices in perpetual canon dissolves into string-accented tidal swirls on “Water of Love,” one of the album’s standout tracks. With its acoustic guitar and muted brass softening the blow of self-revelation, the song “Phoenix of Love” is velvet melancholy, and recalls Midlake or Elliott Smith.

“Only For Myself,” one of the album’s piano-driven pieces, rises and ebbs behind lyrics “I die again and again.” The song is one of Heavy Bell’s more intricate choral offerings, and aligns the band with a number of indie artists who work orchestral realms, including Sufjan Stevens and Darlingside.

By Grand Central Station, the album, also features author Elizabeth Smart’s own voice, songs “The Pain Was Unbearable” and “I Am Not The Ease” feature the author reading from the novel on CBC’s long-running flagship radio program Morningside, recorded in 1982.

Today, Heavy Bell shares a video piece for the song “Certainly,” a soaring, string-spun song with an unflinching rewriting of the resurrection: “To rise again from such slaughter Messiah must indeed become a woman.” The video tells its own story about coincidence and artistic cross-pollination. Around the same time that Keenan and Peters were adapting the novel to song, they discovered another project based on the book was in the works in their own backyard, a modern dance piece based on Smart’s life by Winnipeg’s Contemporary Dancers. Director Sarah Constible transformed performance footage from the show, called 97 Positions of the Heart, into a visual companion to the song. “It is not a typical music video,” says Keenan. “It reminds me of the mid-century experimental films of Norman McLaren, with its transformation of the human form into something abstract, to great emotional effect.”

"Certainly" will be available digitally on Friday, November 17, 2017.

By Grand Central Station will be released January 12, 2018.


1. Monterey
2. It Is Coming
3. Water Of Love
4. It Has Happened
5. Only For Myself
6. Certainly
7. It Is Not Possible That He Will Not Return
8. O Waste of Moon
9. Time For Such A Word
10. The Pain Was Unbearable
11. Phoenix Of Love
12. I Am Going To Have A Child
13. I Am Not The Ease
14. All The Paraphernalia

By Grand Central Station was adapted, composed, arranged and produced by Heavy Bell. Front Cover Image: The Head of a Woman Looking Up (Judith) by Guido Reni (1625).

Private media preview of By Grand Central Station available here.
CDs available upon request.

WINNIPEG, MB: WECC, Jan 13 (album release show)
SASKATOON, SK: Cosmo Hall, Winterruption Festival, Jan 19
EDMONTON, AB: The Almanac, Jan 20
MONTREAL, QC: Casa del Popolo, Feb 2
OTTAWA, ON: Pressed Cafe, Feb 3
TORONTO, ON: Burdock Music Hall, Feb 4
CALGARY, AB: Studio Bell Theatre, Block Heater Music Festival, Feb 16


Originally from Ottawa, but with a love and life story that triangulates around Big Sur, California and Suffolk, UK, Elizabeth Smart was a writer, poet and copy-editor who was looking for adventure and found that, and more, from a book of poetry picked off a shelf. The author is most known for By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept, a book that is rediscovered by writers, musicians and filmmakers in cyclical fashion since its original publication in 1945. Obsessive, masochistic, pernicious love is just the start of Smart’s great work, one of the foundational examples of poetic prose in modern literature.

Read Man Booker Prize winner Yann Martel’s take on her work here.
For advance music and more information, please contact:

Emily Smart
Tire Fire Press

More Event Details
No Minors permitted
Cover Charge: Tickets: $15.00 in advance, $18.00 at the door ($1.99 e-ticket fee)
Advance Tickets Available

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Last updated: 2018-01-05 13:49:07

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