Ensconced as the house band at the ancient, ramshackle tavern The Montreal House, the original duo of Charlie Glasspool and Trevor “Tiny” Davis attracted old friends and grew from a duo, to a quintet, to an anarchic horde of over a dozen players and singers, bringing a dark, absurdist edge to their reworkings of blues, country and tin-pan-alley music, and tore into originals, standards and contemporary covers with equal ferocity and grim glee.
Veterans of Peterborough’s folk, hard rock and experimental music scenes of the 1990s, epic three-set shows turned the band into a powerhouse, loose-but-tight ensemble of archindividuals, and put the pressure on the band to master such arcane instruments as sousaphone and theremin and to always learn or write more timeless songs to fill out the set.
The Silver Hearts reached their creative zenith on the albums No Place (2002; CBC Bandwidth album of the year) and Our Precious City (2004), adding another idiosyncratic chapter to the history of experimental folk music, and contributing a few otherworldly instrumentals, heartbreaking ballads and abstract dance numbers to the people’s songbook in the process. After releasing a full-album cover of Tom Waits’s Rain Dogs, the band went on hiatus, regrouping temporarily to make Dear Stranger (2006) with Andre Ethier. Reunited occasionally, the band celebrated its tenth anniversary by resuming full activity, having played at the Arabaki Festival in Sendai, Japan in May 2010 and now gigs somewhat regularly throughout Ontario.