Kootenay & Co. is a collaborative musical project from the mind of Canadian songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Jordan Kootenay. The Edmonton-based creator is a remarkably versatile musician and prolific composer. Regular readers of The Static Dive are well acquainted with the name. The band’s two appearances on these pages are indicative of the broad scope of their namesake’s talents.
The first appearance of Kootenay & Co. came in the form of the Outlaw Country barstool lament, “Far & Long Gone.” Jordan is very open about his past personal struggles with alcohol and substance abuse. His experiences in that world have fueled his creative output in 2021. That was true too of his second appearance. However, although the inspiration was the same, the end product was something completely different. On “Northern Autopsy” he took a complete 180 degree turn into some very dark hardcore Thrash Metal. The one thing that great Metal and great Country have in common is that they’re both really difficult to play. Kootenay is excellent at each. That is no small feat.
“Damaged Goods – Collaborative EP” is the brand new forthcoming EP from Kootenay & Co, scheduled for release on July 31, 2021. This time, the band is returning to the honky-tonk with a collection of impeccably performed and deeply personal traditional Country music. Conceptually and stylistically the record lives in the same creative space as that early single “Far & Long Gone” (which is included here). Over the course of five songs we live through the difficulty of sobriety with a man who knows of where he speaks.
As the record opens, we wake up in the drunk tank. On “Years Before,” vocalist Julia Formica sings an all too real tale of looking up from rock bottom. Musically the track is classic two-step shuffle. The band is as good as any collection of studio musicians on Music Row. Reggie Duncan’s pedal steel duets with Brian Daniels’ fiddle while Simon Johnson (bass) and Mark Strickland (drums) lay down a rock solid groove.
“Far and Long Gone” follows with some fabulous banjo from Colton McCormick paired with Jesse Morgan’s fiddle. “Undone” is a low and slow look back at some of the dark times of drinking and the heartache that it can cause. Throughout the record Jordan handles six-string duties with the same skill and style that he applied to the Heavy Metal shredding of Northern Autopsy.
“Highway 1A” features some really nice mandolin and fiddle interplay. That vibe continues into the beautiful instrumental “Lament” which brings to mind classic mid-20th century mountain music. The record closes on the Western groove of “Hopeless Pride” Julia Formica is excellent once again as she delivers this self-effacing critical recount of past sins.
“Damaged Goods – Collaborative EP” is a deep, dark and richly nuanced record. The record’s mix of traditional Country with a very modern confessional narrative is a triumph, both musically and lyrically. There are few things in this world more difficult than getting sober. And the hardest part of all is in coming to terms with the pain one caused before sobriety. Kootenay & Co. tell the tale with authenticity and some really killer Country tunes. Listen to the album below and follow the links below the video to connect with the artist.