The United Steel Workers of Montreal
View USWM's EPK :: Press Clippings
THREE ON THE TREE
Montreal's beloved six-piece, the United Steel Workers of Montreal, have wowed audiences from coast to coast with the infectious draw of their unique brand of blue-collar alt-country. A potent mix of blues, jazz, country and swing, The USWM’s live performances are filled out with dry wit, tall tales and some outright lies. Dancing is optional but hard to avoid.
Following in the wake of their critically acclaimed albums, Broken Trucks and Bottles and Kerosene & Coal, THREE ON THE TREE sees the band branching out from their earthy, acoustic-country-punk roots to experiment with gospel (Jesus We Sweat), historical ballads (Mary Gallagher), Spanish horn arrangements (Glen Jones) and thundering premonitions of death (Three Hard Knocks). Lead singer Gern f., guitarist Shawn 'Gus' Beauchamp and electric guitar master Matthew Watson each pour a diverse helping of tunes into the mélange. Rockabilly bassist Eddy Blake and banjo/mandolin player Chris Reid's combined upbeat, energetic stylings give the album an unmistakable pop and swing. Huge in heart, narrative scope and emotion, THREE ON THE TREE swoops down over the industrial grimness of Shot Tower sashaying through the street-level social turbulence of What a Riot and peers into a delicate room where lead singer Felicity Hamer's velvety vocals balance the melody of Little Girl like a frail tea-cup on her saucer. All of the most loved conventions of The USWM's previous work are represented, from the stirring rallying cries of Rise Up and The Line to light hearted foot stomping romps like Making Babies and Lorelei.
The United Steel Workers of Montreal were voted Montreal’s #1 Folk/Roots Band and #2 Best Live Act, and have been recorded live by CBC Radio 2 and CBC Radio 3. The band has been receiving critical acclaim, playing SXSW, NXNE, CMW, Pop Montreal, Toronto International Film Festival, Festival de musique émergente, Quebec City’s 400th anniversary, Ottawa Bluesfest. Berlin’s Popkomm, Nancy France Jazz Festival and received nominations for the Quebec Independent Music Awards and the MIMIs. They have released two stunning videos for Émile Bertrand and Meaner than You. THREE ON THE TREE is being unleashed upon a rapidly swelling international audience, all hungry to hear more, and will see the band touring extensively across Canada, the US and Europe.
KEROSENE & COAL
KEROSENE & COAL is the second album by the UNITED STEEL WORKERS OF MONTREAL, following up their outstanding debut, Broken Trucks and Bottles. Showing how raucous and affecting this blues-y, urban, alt-country band can be, the songs on Kerosene & Coal start from the grit of Montreal’s south-west neighbourhoods before tearing down truck routes to move past highway pit stops for gas-station melodramas and back-road drag races, with a bank robbery thrown in for good measure. Well stocked with twelve 80-proof tracks that explore true love (both requited and the other kind), the fringes of the workaday life, love’s desperation, redemption, and the camaraderie of a neighbourhood bar at last call, Kerosene & Coal handily captures the infectious draw of The USWM.
BROKEN TRUCKS and BOTTLES
THE UNITED STEEL WORKERS OF MONTREAL, having laid their claim to a plot of musicdom just east of Alt-Country, forged themselves a unique sound that's been described as "rousing, old style cowboy punk with an urban edge." USWM have been likened to groups like Son Volt, The Sadies, Tom Waits and even the Pogues. Undeniable musical virtuosity as well as the band's forceful presence and always endearing stage banter have helped propel The USWM to become one of Montreal's top live acts.
Broken Trucks and Bottles also includes guest performances by talented artists such as David Macanulty (The Subhumans, Paperboys, The Hardrock Miners) and Andrew Horton (Notre Dame de Grass).
Gern f.: Vocals, Guitar, Harmonica.
Accused of having a voice pitched somewhere between a sober Shane MacGowan and a completely unhinged Springsteen, Gern f. is the gravitational pull that holds the USWM in orbit. Chopping a steady rhythm across his guitar, Gern’s honest ballads move like unstoppable freighters, lumbering through small towns and picking up steam on the back roads, searching out the joys and triumphs in the darkest corners of adversity.
Felicity Hamer: Vocals.
Funny and sexy, Felicity Hamer’s rasping harmonies run like velvet beneath Gern’s grizzly bear growl. Taking center stage, she usurps the spotlight with ease, turning every head in the bar. Her voice like a warm blanket, singing melodies that will break your heart, Felicity is a sweet drop of cream in the spiked mug of coffee that is the USWM.
Matt Watson: Telecaster, Mandolin, Banjo, Backing Vocals.
Armed with a telecaster, a bottleneck and a hell of a lot of musical taste, Matt Watson layers atmosphere over the Steel Workers’ compositions like smoke across a saloon. A proven jack-of-whatever-trade needed, Mr. Watson brings a deft hand to guitar, mandolin, banjo, organ, piano, backup vocals and has rendered himself an indispensable cornerstone of the USWM sound.
Shawn 'Gus' Beauchamp: Vocals, Guitar, Mandolin.
A man of few words on stage, the atmosphere becomes remarkably personal when ‘Gus’ Beauchamp steps up to the mic for his working class anthems. With a strong, enigmatic presence, he is the steel reinforcing the band’s structure. “No overt showmanship, no airs, just pure, unself-conscious, bang-on roots singing.”
Phil "Flipper" Frumignac: Stand Up Bass.
Stand up Bass. With a strong reputation in the Psychobilly-Rockabilly circuit over the past 10 years, Flipper has certainly been one of the main figures who contributed to make the Mtl rockin' scene one of the best in the country and abroad. His hard hitting thumping slapping bass lines had been heard with many local acts (Rosekill, Matchless...) but also with the internationnaly acclaimed Psychobilly outfit GUTTER DEMONS. With Flipper on board the USWM freight train will only slow down when it's needed to... Slap it 'til your fingers bleed!
Dylan Perron: Mandolin, Banjo, Backing Vocals
2008 USWM Nominated for GAMIQ and MIMI awards
The United Steel Workers of Montreal make Toronto Star's list of Top 6 bands to see during Canadian Music Week!
2009: The Mirror's Best of Montreal places The USWM as
#2 for Best Musical Acts and #1 for Best Country/Folk Act.
2008: The Mirror's Best of Montreal places The USWM as
#3 for Best Musical Acts and #1 for Best Country/Folk Act.
2007: The Mirror's Best of Montreal places The USWM on their list of top ten Best Country/Folk Acts. We're number 3!!!
2006: Best Musical Acts #6.
Top 30 Charts
• CBC Radio
• !Earshots Folk/Blues/Roots National Radio Charts
#5 - United Steel Workers Of Montreal, Kerosene & Coal
• !Earshots National Radio Charts Topp 100 Chart for 2007:
United Steel Workers Of Montreal, Kerosene & Coal
Their live gigs have achieved a legendary cult-like status…they sing about you and me, and to you and me. It’s real, it’s about a good time, it’s about life.
The USWM are the quintessential Montreal band...one of the best, hardest working and most loved bands in the city. Possessing a blue-collar charm that's impossible to fake and a punk-country sound impossible to mistake
A fantastic band… Good people, good music. Highly recommended
It doesn't take long to realize that USWM is doing something different than most bands out there. The lead vocals are unique and the harmony vocals are outstanding.
Breathtaking harmonies, strings, and banjo ...can make you stomp a hole into the dance floor on one track ...and hold your girl tight as you sway to the next.
The USWM eat the crowd with a raucous country-marries-urban-roots set. After Felicity's sass has met Gern's grit, a vocal shot of Tom Waits if he'd been born in a motel in the Ozarks, you are feeling that familiar flush of pride and thinking "we've done it again." Because USWM are indeed from Montreal.
The hoot-and-holler meter went highest when the United Steel Workers of Montreal thundered through a set of "Citygrass" music.
Brad Wheeler, Globe and Mail
When you convince people to slow dance in the middle of the room, you pretty much rule.
Matt Semansky , Chartattack
Six-pack of Canadian: top 6 bands to see during Canadian Music Week
Vit Wagner , The Toronto Star
Critic's Pick: Front-porch casual approach to picking, Broken Trucks and Bottles has no shortage of closing-time charm
Tim Perlich, NOW
Men at work; Modern bluegrassers, United Steel Workers of Montreal come by hard-times image honestly.
Jason Schneider, The Record
Gorgeous voice of Felicity Hamer... sweet hamonies and seductive croon
Tim Perlich, NOW
Country crooners and outlaw rockers make for great company
USMW deliver the genuine country-blues goods
James Sandham, Spill Magazine
United Steel Workers Of Montreal kick sweet honkytonk butt
Mary Dickie, Toronto Sun
The band really deliver
Johnson Cummins, The Montreal Mirror
A gem of a disc and one helluva debut
Bob Klanac, Scene Magazine
A unique addition to the Montreal music scene
Dave Gossage, Tüna:
A must have!
Indigo Books and Music:
This album is magic
An important piece of the Montreal roots music scene
Matthew Large, Notre Dame de Grass
Broken Trucks and Bottles Rocks!
Amber Dawkins, TokoroMAG
Spirited bluegrass and old-timey twang is hard to resist
Jordan Zivitz, The Montreal Gazette