Take a look at the photo at right. That's Pat Chessell, Surrey-based musician, posing in a Gastown alley. Check out the colour scheme behind him, with the green pole and orange-red hue of the stone wall. Kinda looks like an Irish flag, right?
"It was a total fluke that we found that spot for a photo," Chessell said, recalling the shoot, in Gastown.
The photograph graces the cover of Chessell's lively second album, Lullabies and Battles Cries, a Celtic-folk romp produced by Tim Renaud, of the band Blackthorn. Among its eight whisky-soaked songs are covers (Shane MacGowan's "The Dunes" and Steve Earle's "Galway Girl," among others) and an upbeat gem co-written with Bruce Coughlan, of Tiller's Folly fame ("Drunk in Exile"). There's also the ridiculously catchy, Johnny Cashesque "Fuel on the Fire," which features Steve Dawson on slide guitar. The song was recorded with lyrics by Shawn Chessell, eldest brother of the singer/guitarist, 28.
"It's a bit of an anthem about being hungover at work - you know, asking your boss to get off your back because you're not feeling well and your old lady might be cheating on you, so don't pour fuel on the fire," Chessell said between sips of Guinness at Dublin Crossing, the Irish pub located not far from where he lives. The Clayton-area pub also serves as a frequent stage for the Martin-strumming, Holy Cross-schooled Chessell, including a run of gigs for him on St. Patrick's Day weekend (see www.dublincrossing.com for details).
Before then, Pat Chessell Band sets up this Saturday night (March 9) at Blue Frog studio/concert hall in White Rock for a show celebrating the release of Lullabies
and Battle Cries. Event details and tickets ($25) can be found online at www. bluefrogstudios.ca/newshows.html.
"It's just so intimate in there, so we wanted to give it a try," Chessell said. "We'll try to give it an Irish-pub feel that night, with tables and chairs. and beer, yes."
In his eight years as a profession musician, Chessell has become an in-demand player at bars across Metro Vancouver. He typically does close to a dozen solo performances a month, plus three or four with his backing band, offering originals, Celtic covers and pop favourites. Last year alone, he was booked for more than 200 performances.
"The funny thing is, I don't usually hustle for them, I tend to just get the calls," Chessell said of his busy gig calendar. "I don't really go out and look for gigs at all.
I'm just lucky, I suppose."
CRUSHIN' AT A BOWLING ALLEY
Surrey was well represented Sunday (March 4) at a music video shoot at The Zone Bowling Centre in Richmond, for the song "Crushin'" by 11-year-old singer Desirae Bock, of West Van.
In the house was Surrey-raised pop star Elisa Estrada, the significant other of Adam Hurstfield, video producer and XOXO Entertainment boss, as was an upbeat Don Wolf, the Ocean Park-based musician who works as vocal coach for Desirae and also Jerrica Santos, the recent Variety's Got Talent contest winner.
Estrada said she's looking forward to recording more songs for another album, with a songwriting session planned this month with American rapper T-Pain.
Desirae, meanwhile, will be a featured performer on the Bella Thorne & Friends Concert Jam, a spring tour of America that includes two show dates in Mexico City. The Disney-backed journey will have the Grade 6 student jetting to 19 cities for weekend concert dates, starting in April.
Cancelled due to "scheduling conflicts" is Rock. It Boy Entertainment's "Sway" tribute concert, featuring Michael Bublé's music and starring singer Adam Lucas. It was supposed to happen March 10 at Coast Capital Playhouse, White Rock.
On the bright side, Tiller's Folly will play Blue Frog on Friday, March 29, and guitarist Doug Towle brings his new "Supernatural - A Santana Experience" show to the same Johnston Road venue on Friday, April 5.