Yesterday I spent half an hour on the phone with Vancouver guitar ace, singer, and songwriter Shaun Verreault, getting the scoop on what he's been up to and how he's been dealing with the pandemic.
At one point we were chatting about the latest album by his group Wide Mouth Mason, 2019's I Wanna Go With You, and the name Ryan Dahle came up, because he'd recorded, mixed, mastered, and co-produced the album, as well as contributing bass and vocals.
"Aw, what a wonderful, hilarious dude," said Verreault of Dahle, who's best known for rockin' it with the Age of Electric and Limblifter. "He just knows exactly when to offer an idea, and when to just put a different guitar in your hands. Or when to just make you laugh. We've been really fortunate with all the people we've collaborated with, as the Masons and me on my own, and just adore working with Ryan. We're already talking about doing it again for whatever the next thing is."
All that raving about Ryan Dahle got me wondering who else Verreault was crazy about these days. I asked him to list his five fave local bands or musicians, and he was more happy to oblige.
"Anything that Ryan [Dahle] is involved with," he started out. "And speaking of Ryans, I'm a massive Mother Mother fan. I think that Ryan [Guldemond] is a genius, and not since the Police has there been a band that could be so digestable by the masses, but that is like a trojan horse for putting subversive musical ideas and weirdness into the world in the way that that band does. I love Ali [Siadat]s drumming, I love the blend of all their voices together, I love the songwriting.
"So that's a couple. My friend and frequent collaborator Pat Steward drums with Cobra Ramone these days, and I love their kinda Jack White-sorta-Motorhead-y version of blues music, what they do, especially with Pat in the drummer's seat driving it the way that he does. Lemee see, who else? Obviously Pat's other band, Odds, and anything that they're up to. And they're just about to release another record as Stripper's Union, with Rob Baker from the Tragically Hip. Craig's forwarded me a preview copy to check out, and it's excellent. It's such deep and interesting songwriting; it's like the Kinks for our generation. And I can't say enough about the Odds' songwriting and how much they've meant to us as friends and musicians that we've learned from.
"I think I'm almost at five. The other was... I don't think there's a more lyrical or better guitar player--and I know he's not currently living here, but I'll always associate him with Vancouver--as the great Keith Scott of Bryan Adams. Eddie Van Halen chimed in with his fandom of Keith as well, just saying that he's got beautiful touch and a beautiful tone. And he's just a gem of a human being."
For more from Shaun Verreault, see the feature story in next week's issue of the Georgia Straight. Read it on paper for that old-school Wide Mouth Mason vibe.