Little Bit of Gasoline
'The sun is burning orange and the crows are flying east While I dance within my black heart closer to the beast Clear across this scorched plain my fields begin to quake And far off in one corner burns a scarecrow at the stake You lookin' at a home for drunken saints or fallen angels? Well, I know for sure a piece of Hell is up for sale Let's wipe the tint off of your rose-coloured glasses With a little bit of gasoline' With those words Doug Andrew and the Circus in Flames announce the release of A Little Bit Of Gasoline and the return of their unique brand of "sheet metal country", a phrase coined by Andrew to describe the singular sound of The Circus In Flames debut CD. When Andrew released the critically acclaimed Circus In Flames in 1997 it was touted by Dirty Linen Magazine as "a strong argument for indie release of the year" and Warren Footz, writing for Edmonton's See Magazine, noted that Andrew's songs "should shuffle him off into the Canadian song-writing hierarchy." The recording garnered a regular slot on CBC playlists and a national radio broadcast of the group in concert. While band personnel changes and the vagaries of the industry placed the Circus In Flames project on hold Andrew has continued to write and to perform throughout western Canada. Aside from solo performances and a semi-regular gig with Peter North's "Come On In My Kitchen" concert series, Andrew has opened for Jesse Winchester at Edmonton's Festival Place and performed in a tribute to Ian Tyson at a National Arts Centre presentation in Ottawa. Most recently, The Circus In Flames joined such artists as former Byrd, Chris Hillman, Blue Rodeo, Gordon Lightfoot and Jennifer Warnes on The Gift: A Tribute To Ian Tyson released by Stony Plain Records and distributed by Warner Music. The group was honoured to welcome legendary steel guitarist Buddy Cage (New Riders Of The Purple Sage, Great Speckled Bird, Bob Dylan's Blood On The Tracks) onto their version of the Tyson classic, Someday Soon which the Toronto Star chose as the Top Track after rating the album "3½ out of 4 Stars." With a stack of new songs that seemed to fit the unique Circus In Flames sound Andrew returned to the recording studio. The outcome of those sessions is a CD that showcases the talents of a veteran songwriter at the height of his craft. On A Little Bit of Gasoline Andrew explores internal landscapes infused with loss, love, revenge and redemption. Ranging from the aching aftermath of a doomed relationship in "See You Waving" or the failed dreams of a minor league hockey player's last shot in the autobiographical "Decatur Blues" to the revenge fuelled rant of the title track Andrew gives listeners songs filled with intensely personal lyrics and universally felt emotion. Once again, Andrew assembles an interesting and eclectic group of musicians to record with. Joining him from The Circus In Flames first CD is mandolinist Brian Barr. This time Brian stretches out to also include electric, flat-top acoustic, slide and banjo guitars as well as to engineer and co-produce the recording. For an upright bassist, Doug put in a call to Austin, Texas to Ron Allan. This was something of a reunion for Ron and Doug as they had once played together in the punk/alt-rock, Shanghai Dog over twenty years before. To round out the band, highly regarded veteran drummer Ed Goodine was recruited and he sets up the album's overall feel, proving why his talents are in such great demand by pretty much every musician in Vancouver. The recording is also blessed with a guest appearance on 'Come Down The Canyon' by Edmonton bluesman Mark Sterling on dobro. With A Little Bit of Gasoline Doug Andrew and The Circus In Flames deliver a disc filled to the brim with a passion and grit that feeds the soul and informs the heart. The Circus is back in town and it was worth the wait.