The Crackling

Dramatic Indie Folk

Review

The Vancouver Sun

**** (out of five)

“Keep me drunk, keep me wandering, keep me far enough away,” sings Kenton Loewen on Keep Me Drunk, before letting out a bellow that would make his good pal and touring buddy Dan Mangan proud. Comparisons are inevitable: Loewen and Crackling guitarist Gordon Grdina spend most of their time on the road backing up Mangan. Mary Magdalene often comes across as the musings of a man looking to grasp the nature of love and existence. It’s a rain-swept kind of album where Loewen balladeers his way with a bittersweet shuffle (You’re Sure That I’m Wrong, the lovely I Ask You For the Courage), an ominously wonky country/rockabilly country twang (Mary Magdalene) and electrified Neil Young style stomp (Ashen, with Mangan singing backup). Expertly produced by drummer John Raham and featuring the assistance of guest vocalist Debra Jean Creelman, the Vancouver Children’s Choir and free jazz experts Peggy Lee, Jesse Zubot and JP Carter among others, Mary Magdalene is an album that encompasses a wide spectrum of sounds and emotions.

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Biography

The name The Crackling refers to songwriter Kenton Loewen’s favorite sound, the sound of burning. From gentle taps of smoking wood, to violent sparks of exploding pine cones and falling branches, the sounds evoked from the idea of crackling set the tone of the album. This album is about the sounds of change, natural and flowing or sudden and vigorous, but above all stimulating and honest.

Kenton Loewen has seasoned himself as a touring musician having been on the road exstensively since 2000. Known mostly as a drummer (Dan Mangan, Mother Mother, Gordon Grdina Trio), The Crackling is his work in songwriting and his focus in guitar.

The album title Keep Full Ambitious is a quote from Kenton’s grandfather, a Russian immigrant from a strong religious background. His advice always struck Kenton as surprisingly hopeful compared to the modest and conservative teachings of other relatives. This album is a homage to the expansive words of his grandfather, to the inspiring words of a humble man.

The Crackling toured in support of Dan Mangan’s 2010 Canadian tour. This wonderful opportunity put the band in front of no less then 300 people a night on this sold out tour. The overwhelming response has brought The Crackling in to new light in the Canadian Music scene.

The Cracklings’ debut album Keep Full Ambitious is not an explicit sharing of specific personal moments. It is an invitation into an intimate place, a dropping of barriers and an exploration of experience. The aim is to effect people with the intensity of the music, but not to dictate the meaning. Take from it what you will, give to it what you can, come listen.

Kenton Loewen is best known as a drummer. The Crackling is Kenton’s first project as composer and singer. He is a trained jazz drummer. Kenton has worked extensively with Gord Grdina, and has played with such jazz notables as Mats Gustafsson, Ingebrigt Haker-Flaten, Fredrik Lundqvist, Jeb Bishop, Kent Kessler, Simon Fisk, Jerry Granelli, Michael Moore, Mark Helias, Mark Destrube and Francois Houle. Kenton has also played in Po Girl, Submission Hold, Mother Mother, Dan Mangan and Josh Martinez and the Pissed Off Wild.

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Biography

The name The Crackling refers to songwriter Kenton Loewen’s favorite sound, the sound of burning. From gentle taps of smoking wood, to violent sparks of exploding pine cones and falling branches, the sounds evoked from the idea of crackling set the tone...

Read Full Bio

Review

The Vancouver Sun **** (out of five) “Keep me drunk, keep me wandering, keep me far enough away,” sings Kenton Loewen on Keep Me Drunk, before letting out a bellow that would make his good pal and touring buddy Dan Mangan proud. Comparisons are inevit...

Read Full Review

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The Crackling

Mary Magdalene Preview Buy Now

The Crackling

Keep Full Ambitious Preview Buy Now

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