Duke & Goldie “Duke & Goldie”

Independent, 2023

Perceptive writing to cosmic country-rock .

Just looking at the photo and typeface of their debut EP there is a distinctly early 1970s feel about this Canadian duo. Six songs later and that sense becomes complete immersion as Duke and Goldie take the listener on a tour of folk, country, pop, rock, all suffused with a sunny psychedelia. To this authentic take on the emerging country pop/rock of that era these two burnish their record with a contemporary shine.

Eric “The Duke” Duquette and Jena “Goldie” Gogo were in Toronto folk rock band The Blue Sky Miners when the pandemic struck. Instead of hunkering down they moved to the other side of Canada where on Vancouver Island they took time out to experiment across various musical styles. This eponymous EP is the result of those thoughts. Evident is their previous country rock to which they draw on influences such as Neil Young, Joni Mitchell and Fleetwood Mac. They write perceptive lyrics and harmonise beautifully. Producer and pedal steel player, Aaron Goldstein adds further dimension. 

“Crops are burning, rain coming down” opens ‘Sage and Cedar’ hauntingly as Goldie’s echoing voice immediately evokes Stevie Nicks. More rock than country, the atmospheric production belies a tale of harsh lessons to be learned. The early ‘70s country rock kicks in properly on ‘Rocky Mountain Feeling’ when Duke takes over on lead vocals. Here we find the duo in their new surroundings taking stock of life as, “Loud and clear my thoughts are billowing in now”. The brisk pace and fast chord changes blow away an old life as they ponder what lies ahead. Duke and Goldie don’t just look inward, ‘Where Do Buffalo Roam?’ expands their focus far out into the wild with a more folk/roots vibe.

Goodie’s contribution to a fundraiser for a women’s shelter was ‘See You There’, as much a poem as song. In a more singer/songwriter style (Joni) she offers empathy and hope. ‘Courage’ best combines Duke & Goldie’s various influences with its mix of harmony, country-rock as they gather their thoughts about where they’ve come from and more importantly, where they are going.

On the strength of this brief collection we must hope that direction leads back to the studio for a full-length album.

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7/10
7/10

About Lyndon Bolton 143 Articles
Writing about americana, country, blues, folk and all stops in between
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