What better way to rekindle memories of that visit to Rome than by listening to some alt-rock from Winnipeg.
Glassreel, the four-piece group that released its latest single, Ride Along, on Oct. 27, also has its music as part of the TLN food and travel show David Rocco’s Dolce Italia.
The series, which follows celebrity chef David Rocco through some of his favourite cities and towns in Italy, uses Glassreel’s music during a couple of episodes, including one that focuses on the Italian capital, which for centuries has been a favourite among foodies.
Glassreel songwriter Trevor Graumann noticed a call for musical submissions for the show on social media and submitted some of the band’s songs. Next thing you know, the Winnipeg band’s alt-rock sound is the musical background for a loving look at Rome’s food and culture.
"Before we started, we wondered ‘How is our music going to fit in this?’ It didn’t really make sense to us," Glassreel vocalist Kelly Beaton says.
"We were just blown away by it because it really is a very well done show," Graumann says. "It’s about food, but it’s very cultural. The message is really great, really positive."
Graumann first saw some of the episodes in the spring, and seeing Italy so vibrant and busy was such a contrast to what the world has had to face in 2020, owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"It first aired around March and April, which was interesting because it was right when things were getting really bad in Italy, and the show is a cultural exploration of Italy," he says.
What’s it like to hear your music on a television show? Let Beaton explain.
"It was kind of surreal when you first watch it because, I could hear my voice, and I’ve been to parts of Italy, and it made me feel like I was there filming or on location," she says.
Graumann and Beaton hope Glassreel continues its relationship with Rocco, who has created many series about food and culture around the world.
The TV show has become another way for the group, which includes Beaton, Graumann, Andrew Workman and Ken Phillips, to get its music to the world in 2020. Glassreel’s first EP, Unalike, came out in November 2019 and like virtually all musicians, their 2020 touring plans have been derailed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Because we had some great success with the EP on U.S. campus radio, we were trying to segue that into some shows across the border, and unfortunately that’s not an option," Graumann says. "Since the whole COVID thing began it’s been a matter of trying to keep up momentum and keep things going that don’t involve shows," Graumann says.
Glassreel members had no idea when they recorded the new single, Ride Along, that it would fit 2020’s gloomy mood.
"It’s about holding yourself back, in lots of ways, and how we hold on to relationships that maybe have run their course, Graumann says. "It has a really minor-key feel to it and we played that up in the arrangements."
Glassreel kept the musical fire burning during the summer when it released a video for Crystal Ball, another of the songs on the Unalike EP. It follows a young boy strolling in a typical Winnipeg neighbourhood on an autumn afternoon.
It was filmed right after the ice storm of October 2019 and the gloomy fall feel — which includes several downed trees in a South Osborne back lane — in a way matches the song’s moody sound.
The latest updates on the novel coronavirus and COVID-19.
"Everyone said right off the hop, ‘Oh this is Winnipeg,’ which is nice," Beaton says. "It was kind of an accident because of the weather. It turned out to be one of those overcast days and it worked out perfectly."
The video also brought some nostalgia to Winnipeg expats, Graumann says.
"We actually had people reaching out to us who are from Winnipeg but who have since moved away. They said, ‘This reminds me of Winnipeg,’"z he says.
Alan Small Reporter
Alan Small has been a journalist at the Free Press for more than 22 years in a variety of roles, the latest being a reporter in the Arts and Life section.
● Hip-hop artist Odario, a former Winnipegger who now calls Toronto home, released a new EP, Good Morning Hunter, on Oct. 23 and now has a video to go with the record’s first single, Peace.
The song features Winnipeg emcee Len Bowen and Vancouver vocalist Dawn Pemberton.
“I wanted to inject a sense of hope and positivity into my life during such heavy times,” Odario says in a release. “And it was that moment I decided to write my own version of what I was searching for.”
● An official video for William Prince’s song Gospel First Nation came out Monday and it shows the Peguis First Nation singer-songwriter checking out the community’s Prince Memorial Chapel, with broken glass strewn among the pews.
It was filmed this summer and also shows some of the beauty of what Prince calls Gospel First Nation — Interlake communities such as Fisher Bay, Peguis and Little Saskatchewan First Nation and the countryside in between.