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Julie Doiron goes back to basics with latest project

By in Culture

Since her early days playing in the trippy folk-rock outfit Eric’s Trip, Julie Doiron has been putting out record after record of consistently hot tracks.

Perhaps a main ingredient in her recipe for musical success has been her willingness to collaborate with other musicians. Looking around the indie scene in Canada and abroad, you’ll find Doiron’s name popping up all over the map; she’s played and recorded with a motley set of artists, including Herman Dune, Mount Eerie, Shotgun and Jaybird and Gord Downie.

With all the loud, idiosyncratic projects Doiron has worked on in the past, it seems oddly natural for her to go back-to-the-basics and turn to her current project, Daniel, Fred & Julie, a stripped-down folksy affair with three-part harmonies sung over traditional ballads.

Daniel, Fred & Julie have a simple sound which comes from a laid-back approach to writing and recording.

“I’ve recorded very quickly before,” said Doiron, “but this was a beautiful week. It was nice and relaxed. I’d make dinner for my kids and then (the band) would come and get me and we’d hear the songs. We’d try it once or twice and then we’d record it.”

Recorded in a campfire sing-a-long style, the indie super-group comprising Daniel Romano (Attack in Black), Fred Squire (Calm Down It’s Monday) and Doiron, huddled around a single microphone in an open garage and let the tape roll. The live show will only use one or two extra pieces of equipment.

“It’s a little different,” explained Doiron. “(There are) just two acoustic guitars, but we each have our own microphones. Theoretically, we could do it around one mic — maybe we should. But I like to sing right on the mic, because I like to close my eyes when I sing.”

Despite the stripped down approach Doiron takes with Daniel, Fred & Julie, she hasn’t slowed down any. Shortly after her tour with this band, she will join Gord Downie’s backing band, The Country of Miracles, on another cross-country tour. Indeed, Doiron will return to Saskatoon on Oct. 5 to play the Odeon with Downie.

“I’ve kind of been touring non-stop since March 2009. It’s been a really long year and a half. (Right now) is the longest time I’ve had off. The last two weeks have been great.”

Asked if the somber tone of Daniel, Fred & Julie comes from life on the road, Doiron hesitated.

“Well, ”˜The Runner’ might,” she said, “but no, most of the songs don’t. No, I love being on the road. I mean, I miss the kids a lot but I really love touring…. A lot of the songs are more traditional and murder ballads but Dan chooses most of the subject matter. You know, sometimes you write those (sad) kinds of songs — that’s my job. I can’t let it get to me. In the past, when I was a little sad it was hard but it’s an opportunity to perform. It doesn’t really make me feel bad.”

[box type=”info”]See Daniel, Fred and Julie perform at Amigos on Sept. 4.[/box]

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