“I am happy to say I have never finished a love song, but I’ll admit I’ve started a few.”
First came the claves. Next came the xylophone and recorder. Then, the clarinet, and finally the guitar (with the accordion tossed in there somewhere).
Enjoying the feel of an acoustic guitar, Montreal, Quebec’s singer-songwriting, multi-instrumentalist, Lucas Choi Zimbel, has been writing songs since he was twelve years old, making a six-string the natural instrument of choice.
“…if banging claves together was enough for me when I was a child, so easily distracted and impatient, the complex chords and finger picking patterns that accompany my words are more than enough for me now.”
In conjunction with a rigorous show schedule in Montreal’s folk scene, Lucas has managed to record and release his new album, Tempered Tantrum, a warm and lively jaunt through the human condition.
HERE’S WHAT WE DUG MOST…
Setting a stylistic tone for the entire album, a classic bass & lead finger-style opens the project with, Take a Long Hard Look at Yourself. This isn’t your pop-radio folk. This is meaty, substantive, deep folk (yup, I said it, deep), whereby both the instrumentation and the voice share the load in equal measure…
Entirely relevant today, The More We Have, the Less We Are follows its opener with an equally satisfying bit of skill and prose…
“Where’s Robin Hood
And his merry men?
It’s in times like these
That we need them
Is stealing from the rich really such a crime
When the hangman’s working overtime?”
The theatrically dynamic, Talk Taboo, makes me wish Zimbel was touring in the Madison area. This music was built for the small, intimate stage.
“Planes soar and cars roar
And no one hears my last breath
I can’t take this anymore
If this is life, I welcome death.”
—Empathy Goes Home, While Apathy Dances
I’m always taken off guard at how refreshing the simplicity of a good instrumental can be. Tempered Pulse creates a lovely bit of urgency, not unlike the work of living folk legend, Charlie Parr.
OUR FAVORITE TRACK…
Like a finger in a silken glove, This Backwards Town elegantly minces no words…
“Politicians with missions
Like bringing down the debt
Forget your little issues
Our budget is set…”
Again, instrumental magic reveals itself in, Eye Of The Tantrum. Wait for the change-up at 1:12. Take note, youngsters, that’s some serious skill.
“War starts when the music stops
There’ll be peace when the beat drops, not bombs…”
—War Starts When The Music Stops
Skilled and bright. Unpretentiously stylish. Blueprint singer-songwriter-folk music. Entirely relevant today. The sonic equivalent of raw, organic grub. Lucas Choi Zimbel’s new album, Tempered Tantrum, is a warm return to folk music’s legendary, civilly-disobedient roots. The music feels wildly and cathartically familiar. The complex finger patterns, tempo changes, melodic structures, and relatable & unassuming lyrics are all impressive enough parts—which somehow pale in comparison to the substantive whole—that of Luca’s ability to create simple, grounded, lived-in music—the kind of vibrations that makes a listener feel safe inside. Safe enough to think for oneself and rise up.
What’s more, at its core it requires very little in order to be appreciated. No stage. No EDM mixing board. No flashing lights. Hell, no electricity. Just a man, his guitar, and a few listeners with which to share the experience. Folk-lovers: take a moment to listen below.
Alexi Murdoch meets Greg Brown…
BELOW: Listen to Lucas Choi Zimbel’s album, Tempered Tantrum, and connect with his website and social media platforms. Please support Lucas Choi Zimbel by visiting him online, and playing, downloading, and/or purchasing his music, or attending a live show! And, as always, thank you for supporting real music!