The Old Ceremony is a North Carolina-based band that produces high energy music, either they go the folk rock route (The Sprinter) or a more middle-of-the-road rock (Live It Down). There’s something reminiscent of bands like Grand Archives or The Replacements floating all over their 6th album, “The Sprinter”. Standard format rock but with passionate delivery that makes it all worthwhile.

Singer Django Haskins has a clear voice that can carry the band through, but also express softer feelings, like on Ghosts of Farriday. On these songs, The Old Ceremony sounds a bit more like folk rock band The Decemberists, that can combine strong story-telling with folk rock music that maintains listeners on the edge.

The Old Ceremony is figure headed by songwriter Django Haskins, and includes drummer Dan Hall, vibes/organist Mark Simonsen, bassist Shane Hartman, and violinist/keyboardist Gabriele Pelli. The band’s name comes from Leonard Cohen’s 1975 album “New Skin for The Old Ceremony”, on which powerful songs like There Is A Way, Who By Fire, Take This Longing and A Singer Must Die were brought to the world, adding to his tower of song. “The Sprinter” is their 6th album, and second on Yep Roc Records. They hail from Chapell Hill, North Carolina.

Listening closely, one can hear subtle arrangements that feature violin, organ, and even xylophone in the background. These elements, although never the main feature, bring depth to The Old Ceremony’s music, making subsequent listening sessions interesting.

The main focus is definitively Haskins’s song writing abilities. Some songs, like The Magic Hour, really stand out of the lot, at first sight, in which no filler has been heard by this reviewer. Million-units selling? Maybe not. Quality band that will never disappoint you? Yeah, I’d bet on that.

The Sprinter
(Yep Roc, 2015)

-Genre: American rock
-In the same musical family than The Replacements, Grand Archives, The Mountain Goats

Follow the band via their Facebook page
Listen to videos on the band’s YouTube channel

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About The Author

Mélomane invétéré plongeant dans tous les genres et époques, Nicolas Pelletier a publié 6 000 critiques de disques et concerts depuis 1991, dont 1100 chez emoragei magazine et 600 sur, dont il a également été le rédacteur en chef de 2009 à 2014. Il publie "Les perles rares et grands crus de la musique" en 2013, lance le site RREVERB en 2014, et devient stratège numérique des radios de Bell Média en 2015, participant au lancement de la marque iHeartRadio au Canada en 2016. Il dirige maintenant la stratégie numérique d'ICI Musique, la radio musicale de Radio-Canada.