Straight out of Calgary, Bretton Lee John’s deep sonorous vocals and wry sense of self-deprecatory humour immediately entice: there are elements of Jonathan Richmond, David Berman (Silver Jews) and a low-fi thrum redolent of The Velvet Undergound and Lou Reed.
His new single ‘Rock Show’ has a sense of intimacy – personal musings by a hopeless romantic infused with longing and hope in the mundane setting of a crowded venue. We’ve all been there: the sweetest possibilities of the potential for happiness and love. Sky high celestial choruses follow, and you are drawn deeply into this simply delivered but melodically bold track:
John says of ‘Rock Show’:
(It) is the song that plays as credits roll on their summer romance movie. One of those made-for-Netflix teen romances where the unlikely nerd finds the person who gets their references to fringy movies, and they end up being Kristen Stewart.
I was at the prolific Broken City bar in Calgary, hiding a cigarette from my now-ex girlfriend and talking to scenesters about indie movies. I thought about a rom-com style encounter, asking for a lighter outside of a show from someone who wanted to talk about movies.
It’s an utterly endearing song filled with a sense of optimism and innocence. In John’s delivery, you have a sense of the strength of expression of wildly creative beings at the edge of the world, in a place where they don’t belong: the perennial outsider.
Feature Photograph: Sable Brulotte