"The United Steel Workers of Montreal forge new sound with Kerosene and Coal" -The Hour
Kerosene & Coal is the second album by Montreal’s kings of citygrass, The United Steel Workers of Montreal, following up their outstanding debut, Broken Trucks and Bottles. Showing how raucous and affecting this blues-y, urban, alt-country band can be, the songs on Kerosene & Coal start from the grit of Montreal’s south-west neighbourhoods before tearing down truck routes to move past highway pit stops for gas-station melodramas and back-road drag races, with a bank robbery thrown in for good measure. Well stocked with twelve 80-proof tracks that explore true love (both requited and the other kind), the fringes of the workaday life, love’s desperation, redemption, and the camaraderie of a neighbourhood bar at last call, Kerosene & Coal handily captures the infectious draw of The United Steel Workers of Montreal.
The six-piece band takes off from varied influences, giving Kerosene & Coal their own unique sound. Gern f.’s gritty voice trades off growls
and whispers, providing a boisterous counterpart to Shawn ‘Gus’ Beauchamp’s earnest, emotionally raw vocals on songs such as “Ask Me To Stay” and “Union Man”. But it’s Felicity Hamer who delivers the knockout punch, revealing the emotional power of the Steel Workers as she turns a sultry rasp into a satin-smooth drawl. Gern and Gus have perfected their two-guitar attack, while Matt Watson’s soulful telecaster roots you to the speaker. Roger Dawson’s stand-up bass provides deft backing and Kevin McNeilly plays banjo and mandolin with feverish intensity. The twelve tracks on Kerosene & Coal were written by Gus and Gern, developed by the band, and recorded at Montreal’s artist-centric UrbanHanded Works Studio, where they were able to retain control over recording and production, allowing this album to be a true follow up to the success of Broken Trucks and Bottles.
Recent Press Quotes:
-- Canadian Music Week Wrap-Up - "The highlight tonight for me was The United Steel Workers Of Montreal who I caught at the Silver Dollar. Great stage presence, loved the duo vocals of their female lead Felicity and their male lead Gern (who has almost a Tom Waits esque style). I also loved the banjo and of course the songs are great. Definitely a band to see live!" http://radio3.cbc.ca/ James Booth, CBC Radio 3, 14 Mar 2007
-- CMW Festival March 2007 - "Next, United Steel Workers of Montreal were putting on an old-fashioned bluegrass show, right down to the antique microphone. The wall of sound created by the multiple guitars, upright bass, and banjo gave a solid backing to the powerful, exorcism of a vocal delivery by their two singers." www.torontoist.com
-- “The hoot-and-holler meter went highest when the United Steel Workers of Montreal thundered through a set of urban hillbilly -- or "citygrass"-- music…. drumless fire-on-the-mountain romping, with the sloppy fierceness of a Tom Waits-Shane MacGowan knife fight.” - Brad Wheeler, Globe and Mail
-- “With their classy hoedown duds, vintage microphone and rotating lineup, bluegrass/folk pros the United Steel Workers of Montreal were a hit at the Silver Dollar. Leader/founder Gern F 's craggy voice and hunched-into-the-mic posture fleshed out their O Brother, Where Art Thou aesthetic, and Felicity Hamer showed off her vocal dexterity. ” – NOW
-- “USWM are truly unique …their edgy urban cowboy punk music combines great songwriting with heartfelt vocals. A great band to catch live,they are all solid instrumentalists and their casual good humour is infectious” - Dave Gossage, Tüna