Transatlantic Canadian based 100 mile house are husband and wife duo Peter Stone and Denise MacKay and multi-instrumentalist Scott Zubot. They are a new arrival on Folk Radio UK and their latest release, Hollow Ponds, explores the overall theme of finding home and by home I mean the physical and emotional place. Peter and Denise have been on a bit of journey, the album provides a very personal insight into their relationship, covering memories of the past, escape and the desire to find a mutual place to settle down.
Peter is from the UK and it was a strange twist of events that led to him meeting Denise in Toronto. They have travelled around a fair bit since: they were based in Edmonton, then moved to London where they started 100 Mile House. They are now back in Canada.
As with any journey, it has its highs and lows. The alt-folk and roots based music reflects this perfectly and features diverse instrumentation including: guitar, banjo, piano, a 100 year old pump organ, suitcase, violin, mandolin, bass, drums as well as a make shift choir of family and friends.
The title track, Hollow Ponds, is a highlight of the album with the lovely pump organ opening to the Peter’s catchy short lyrical lines, ironies and snapshots of memories which take on a bigger life of their own in the minds eye over time: glimpses of overcooking the roast to late night drunken chats. The pace of the songs match the euphoria of finding their path again for their ongoing journey. The fast paced banjo / fiddle drivenEdward IV is a great foot-tapper, a mutual call for escape from the city and the late night closing time fist fights that keep you awake; a time of warm embraces and promises, the song ends on an uncertain statement of ‘we’re closer than you think’.
In many ways the Hollow Ponds is as much about relationships as finding home, a balancing act that leads you on that mutual path of escape, seeking a better world to share. Better, still talks of being a better husband and friend, being more honest. There is a very down-to-earth honesty about all the lyrics on the album, they don’t sound pretentious or musically over-ambitious…it’s a very credible album that will draw you back in time and time again, an uplifting and empowering listen that has you rooting for their success.
100 Mile House are getting a lot of exposure in Canada at the moment and it would be great to see the UK picking up on that success, Hollow Ponds is a great album and is unlike anything I’ve personally heard before, and it goes without saying…I hope they find home.
This Old House (previous album: From Fall to Fall)