recovery room 9

Rik Emmett returns to Dallas!

Rik returns to Poor David’s Pub in Dallas for the fourth consecutive year and will perform an intimate acoustic concert along with Dave Dunlop (the Troubs) in support of their new album/cd “reCOVERy room 9“.

Hear their versions of such classics as “The Boys of Summer”, “Superstition”, and “Message In A Bottle” along with Triumph classics – “Magic Power”, “Hold On”, “Lay It On The Line” and “Midsummer’s Daydream” and more.

It will prove to be a very special Saturday evening with one of the most proficient and versatile guitarists of all time.

Chris Clay
Mar 09, 2012

Cover album for the Troubs

The latest album by Mississauga band The Troubs started off as a challenge between the band’s two members, Rik Emmett and Dave Dunlop.

The two were kicking around ideas to help flesh out their set list and were considering what cover songs they’d like to perform live. Talk quickly turned to what songs would be interesting to play, considering the band is essentially just two men and two acoustic guitars.

“It became a bit of a game, making the list,” said Emmett. “Then we looked at it as being a challenge to come up with some songs that would be unexpected (coming from us).”

The band’s nine-track album, reCOVERy Room 9, was just recently released. It’s an album entirely of covers, from The Police’s Message in a Bottle to Bruce Springsteen’s Born to Run and Bill Joel’s Always a Woman.

One of Emmett’s favourite songs on the album is The Galaxy Song. It’s written by Monty Python’s Eric Idle and fans of the seminal comedy troupe will remember it from the movie Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life.

It’s an irreverent and fun song, and Emmett pushed hard to have it included on the album.

“I had to sell Dave on it because he originally didn’t want to do it at all,” said Emmett. “I told him to just trust me and that it’s going to be fun. It turned out great and the solo Dave plays on it is just brilliant.”

One of the joys of recording an album of covers, said Emmett, is it’s a way to break down people’s conceptions of the style of musician he is.

“It let me step so far out of what people think is Rik Emmett’s comfort zone,” he said. “People didn’t expect that and I think that’s very cool.”

The guitarist understands when you start covering other artists music, such as Don Henley (The Boys of Summer), The Beatles (I’ve Just Seen a Face), and John Hiatt (Have a Little Faith In Me), some people aren’t going to like it. But, for the most part, people are receptive to different takes on popular songs, he said.

Emmett, who rose to prominence with the band Triumph, and Dunlop, from the rock act Full Nine, first had a chance to play together at the National Summer Guitar Workshop in 1990. They’ve released several studio albums since the band’s inception, including their self-titled 2006 debut. In 2007, they released an album recorded Live at Hugh’s Room the previous December while the 10-track Push & Pull dropped in 2009.

The band won Album of the Year and Group/Duo Of The Year at the 2007 Canadian Smooth Jazz Awards.

Copies of the album are available for purchase through rikemmett.com.

He’s also been working with Michael Shotton on a new album called Marco’s Secret Songbook. It’s a concept album that’s semi-autobiographical following a young man who leaves home to venture out into the world to experience life.

The album, which has 15 songs and includes some spoken word narration, is viewed by Emmett as somewhat of a legacy project. With little electric guitar, and mostly acoustic, plus plenty of orchestral instrumentation, Emmett holds a special place in his heart for the project.

“I think it’s a good representation of the musician I’ve been all along,” said Emmett. “It certainly has a legacy quality to it. This is how I’ve always been (as a musician) and this is what I’m leaving behind.”

Emmett is encouraging fans to keep an eye on his website for more details on when the album is going to be released.

cclay@mississauga.net

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Limited Edition Collector’s Bundle also available!

Compact DISCovery
Jaimie Vernon
Feb 10, 2012

Cover tunes are always a mixed bag depending on the tastes and skills of the performers. Walk Off The Earth’s recent viral explosion with their cover of Goyte’s “Someone I Don’t Know” was nearly identical to the original, except all five band members did a stunt performing of the song on a single guitar in situ.

With famous profile acts the results are, traditionally, extremely predictable. Rod Stewart doing “Heard It Through The Grapevine” and “Let’s Get It On” elicits an immediate yawn; Eric Clapton lighting into Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters and Robert Johnson? Qu’elle surprise. 
 


With The Troubs, a duo that stars long-standing guitar virtuosos Dave Dunlop and Rik Emmett (Triumph), the stakes are high and expectations higher. When I heard about such a project I had no doubt that these two could pull off some incredible playing but the lynch pin was going to be the song selection and their execution.


“reCOVERy room 9” delivers on all fronts.

What the two gents have done is chosen songs that are not, generally recognized for their guitar content with the exception of The Police’s “Message In A Bottle” and Don Henley’s “Boys of Summer”. The duo added its own mark to these songs and filled in the gaps where percussion (the former) and keyboards (the latter) once occupied the arrangements. 



While songs like “I Hear You Knockin’” and “Born to Run” were initially guitar based, The Troubs double the flavour. The bump and grind of “I Hear You Knockin’” gets a new coat of paint as a more bluesy offering and “Born to Run” chugs along briskly without being bogged down in the E-Street Band’s histrionics from the original. 
 
There’s a nifty reading of “Superstition” blending the gritty Stevie Wonder vocal performance with Stevie Ray Vaughn’s guitar arrangement that’s refreshing, considering the pedestrian beating the song still gets from karaoke singers and basement bands around the world.

A daring move is the all-guitar driven piano ballad “Always a Woman” by Billy Joel, which could have easily fallen into singer-songwriter Open Mic territory. Instead, the song is given full scrutiny and only suffers with a weird vocal turn in the choruses. Even more daring is the nearly satirical rendering of The Beatles’ “I’ve Just Seen a Face” which appears to have been hi-jacked by Southern parody band Hayseed Dixie. Emmett and Dunlop can barely string the lyrics together as you wait for the song to go off the rails. They manage to hold it together long enough for the listener to say “WTF?” 
 


The jewels of this CD are the final two tracks. There is a beautifully recreated version of John Hiatt’s “Have a Little Faith in Me”. Where Hiatt’s rasp always gave the plaintive lyrics gloomy gravitas, the soaring harmonies of Emmett and Dunlop make this a song of hope and redemption. The Troubs stop taking it all so seriously on the last song of the disc. Hearing a straight-laced politico like Bruce Cockburn turn Monty Python’s “Bright Side of Life” into a black comedy jaunt at concerts is nothing compared to The Troubs’ spit-take on Monty Python’s “The Galaxy Song” from their film ‘The Meaning of Life’. Some may not believe it, but this near-Vaudevillian version has a little more satirical zing than Eric Idle’s flowery orchestrated version.


If you’re going to buy any cover albums this year, I suggest “reCOVERy room 9” if for the final tracks alone. Here’s hoping there will be a volume 2.

Jaimie Vernon

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Limited Edition Collector’s Bundle also available!

The Troubs featuring Dave Dunlop & Rik Emmett – Recovery Room 9
Rockit Sounds
www.troubs.ca

Rating: B

Recorded live in the fall of 2011 at Room 9 in Toronto, Canada, Rik Emmett, the former guitarist for Triumph, and his Troubs sidekick Dave Dunlop whipped out nine covers, performed acoustically, in the studio. The album has a real live feel to it that makes it seem more like a live performance than a studio offering.

Emmett is one of the best The Great White North has ever produced. The years have been kind to him, as he still retains his unique vocal styling, while his guitar skills are better now than ever.

Always a talented acoustic player, Emmett shines on the Troubs rendition of the Police classic “Message in a Bottle” and the Don Henley classic “The Boys of Summer.” These are two of the finest songs played as each retains much of the original but still works very well unplugged. The Billy Joel song “Always a Woman” works great on guitar without the famed piano man’s input.

“I Hear you Knocking” and “Born to Run” are both interestingly done acoustically, however, they are not as strong as the aforementioned covers, or the awesome versions Emmett and Dunlop perform of the Beatles “I’ve Just Seen a Face” and John Hiatt’s “Have a Little Faith in Me.” The CD ends with a nod to the best comedy troupe from England, Monte Python, in the form of “The Galaxy Song.”

Anything Rik Emmett is involved with will be done with finesse, class and professionalism. He is a consummate performer and Dunlop is the perfect person to play with Rik. The duo obviously is having a great time paying homage to their peers. One would not necessarily know that from the album cover, as it appears both performers are nodding off into the darkness. Don’t be fooled by the photo though, as these guys put on a great, albeit, mellow acoustic set that showcases the softer side of Rik Emmett.

By Jeb Wright

Order your copy today.
Limited Edition Collector’s Bundle
also available!