Singer’s latest album mixes blues, folk, rock
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If peter elkas isn’t careful, he might end up becoming a Canadian indie rock heartthrob. Not to say that would bother him, mind you.
“That would be fine,” Elkas chuckles as he describes his sentimental balladeering. “There’s a lot of romance written on this record. If people called me that I guess I would have earned it.”
The record in question is the rising singer-songwriter’s second album, Wall Of Fire, a subdued release that mixes blue-eyed soul with folk-rock tones. But there are gritty edges to the disc as well, which the Montreal ex-pat and ex-Local Rabbit attributes to album producer (Edie Brickell, Lucinda Williams) and former Bob Dylan guitarist Charlie Sexton.
“Charlie fit immediately,” Elkas says. “He brought that rawness back but without losing any skill. He wasn’t content to just produce, either. He sat in with the band, playing a small snare drum.
“At first, I had a decision to make: I know Ian McGettigan (Flashing Lights producer). He was going to produce the album and we had some very cool sounding demos. But he said to me, ‘You have to make the most of this opportunity. I’ll be there to back you up.’”
McGettigan isn’t the only Thrush Hermit pal that Elkas has. His current touring partner was the front man from the now defunct Halifax rock outfit, Joel Plaskett. Joining Plaskett onstage in his Juno-award winning band The Joel Plaskett Emergency, the two share a long friendship and a mutual admiration.
“We complement each other well,” Elkas says. “He has always been an influence on me. It’s a real no-brainer. If an audience gets what he’s doing, I’m pretty confident they’ll get what I’m doing.”
Elkas also points to his formative years in Local Rabbits as part of what he brings to the table recording today, even if his current work is markedly different.
“I bloomed with the Rabbits,” he says. “I learned how to write a good song, and bringing that to a band you now lead, instead of being a supporting guy, is really cool. But what I’m doing isn’t as ‘progressive’ as what the Rabbits did. I’m rooted in more of a classic, traditional sound.”