Tentrees touts new album on northern tour

Gordie Tentrees decided to try something new ahead of recording his latest album - he learned how to sing.

Gordie Tentrees decided to try something new ahead of recording his latest album – he learned how to sing.

The Whitehorse-based folk musician wanted to work on his shortcomings before the release of Less is More, his sixth album, in April.

“I never thought I’d say that after five albums, but it’s been wonderful,” said Tentrees, who has been taking lessons with a close friend in Whitehorse for the past year.

“After focusing so much on the music side of things, I figured, ‘OK, I should become a better singer.’ I’ve learned about all the things I can’t do, what my range is, and what I have to work with.

“It’s cool to learn something new and to try to develop it.”

This week, Tentrees is embarking on a northern tour to promote the album, whose songs haven’t been played live here yet.

The album, clocking in at just over 41 minutes, includes the pick of the litter among the 30 or so tracks he wrote overall, said Tentrees.

In fact, there was a point after his last album where he wasn’t sure whether he wanted to continue producing music or not.

“I gave myself the option of not making another album, ever, or making one that would go above and beyond my own standards,” he said.

“I wanted to wait until I reached that point, whether it was three years or five. I just kept writing and writing, and trying to improve on other things in the meantime.”

Some of the more poignant songs on the album include Somebody’s Child, written after Tentrees witnessed the bombings at the Boston Marathon in April 2013 – a race his wife had completed only nine minutes earlier.

He was four blocks away when the explosions happened. He first thought he had heard cannons going off in celebration.

“For about 20 minutes I didn’t know she was all right, until she found a phone and called me,” he said.

“We stayed in Boston that night and I started thinking about all the things we take for granted, whether it’s our careers or our personal lives. Shit’s real sometimes.”

Two months later, while he was on tour and sitting on a friend’s porch in Ontario, he recalled the event and wrote the song on the spot.

“A lot of my songs come from conversations or tidbits.”

Creating the last two albums has given Tentrees a renewed perspective on the joys of writing, something he hadn’t always appreciated before.

One of the harder songs to write was Deadbeat Dad, he said.

Tentrees, who has two children from two different relationships, wrote the song on Father’s Day after his nine-year-old son talked about what it was like to have two fathers.

It wasn’t easy for Tentrees to talk about the issue until he realized, one day, that he wasn’t alone.

“In this day and age, you can leave the person you’re with if you don’t like them,” he said.

“It wasn’t always like that. Times have changed, and you have a lot more modern families now than you used to.

Tentrees didn’t think the song would end up on the album until he played it for a few friends, all of whom were affected by the content in the song in one way or another.

He witnessed their reactions and began playing it live during his shows.

Unexpectedly, it became the song people requested the most.

“It’s really grown on me, it’s taken a life of its own.”

While some of the songs on the album are meant to tear your heart out, Tentrees said, others contain more uplifting stories about taking the negative parts of your life and making them positive.

On Wheel Girl, an ode to Yukon wheelchair athlete Jessica Frotten, he sings about some of the things he believes she’s gone through to get to where she is today.

After reading about Frotten’s story two years ago, Tentrees helped organize a fundraiser to purchase a new wheelchair for the athlete, as well as help her attend her first international racing event in Switzerland.

When he found out she was going to attend the benefit concert at the Old Fire Hall, he decided to write a song about it, not knowing it would eventually become a favourite of his.

“I think she likes it,” he said.

“I feel lucky to have written half the songs on this album. It’s my favourite so far.

“I learned a lot by making the previous albums, to bring me to this point.”

Tentrees is performing at the Klondike Roots and Blues Festival in Whitehorse tonight, at the Odd Fellows Hall in Dawson City tomorrow evening and at the Keno City Hotel on Sunday.

On Monday night, he’s back in Whitehorse for a show at the Yukon Arts Centre scheduled for 8 p.m.

Opening for him on this tour is Jaxon Haldane, an American musician from Oklahoma whose band headlined the Dawson City Music Festival in 2010.

Contact Myles Dolphin at

myles@yukon-news.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Benjamin Poudou, Mount MacIntyre’s ski club manager, poses for a photo in the club’s ski rental area on Nov. 16. The club has sold around 1,850 passes already this year, compared to 1067 passes on Oct. 31 last year. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Early season ski pass sales up as Yukoners prepare for pandemic winter

Season passe sales at Mount McIntyre for cross-country skiing are up by around 60 per cent this year

The City of Whitehorse will be spending $655,000 to upgrade the waste heat recovery system at the Canada Games Centre. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
New waste heat recovery system coming to the CGC

Council approves $655,000 project

Yukon First Nation Education Directorate education advocates and volunteers help to sort and distribute Christmas hamper grocery boxes outside Elijah Smith Elementary School on Feb. 23. (Rebecca Bradford Andrew/Submitted)
First Nation Education Directorate begins Christmas hamper program

Pick-ups for hampers are scheduled at local schools

Cyrine Candido, cashier, right, wipes down the new plexi-glass dividers at Superstore on March 28, before it was commonplace for them to wear masks. The Yukon government is relaunching the Yukon Essential Workers Income Support Program as the second wave of COVID-19 begins to take place in the territory. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Yukon Essential Workers Income Support Program extended to 32 weeks

More than 100 businesses in the territory applied for the first phase of the program

Cody Pederson of the CA Storm walks around LJ’s Sabres player Clay Plume during the ‘A’ division final of the 2019 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament. The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28 in Whitehorse next year, was officially cancelled on Nov. 24 in a press release from organizers. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file)
2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament cancelled

The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28… Continue reading

Lev Dolgachov/123rf
The Yukon’s Information and Privacy Commissioner stressed the need to safeguard personal information while shopping this holiday season in a press release on Nov. 24.
Information and Privacy Commissioner issues reminder about shopping

The Yukon’s Information and Privacy Commissioner Diane McLeod-McKay stressed the need to… Continue reading

Keith Lay speaks at a city council meeting on Dec. 4, 2017. Lay provided the lone submission to council on the city’s proposed $33 million capital spending plan for 2021 on Nov. 23, taking issue with a number of projects outlined. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Resident raises issues with city’s capital budget

Council to vote on budget in December

Beatrice Lorne was always remembered by gold rush veterans as the ‘Klondike Nightingale’. (Yukon Archives/Maggies Museum Collection)
History Hunter: Beatrice Lorne — The ‘Klondike Nightingale’

In June of 1929, 11 years after the end of the First… Continue reading

Samson Hartland is the executive director of the Yukon Chamber of Mines. The Yukon Chamber of Mines elected a new board of directors during its annual general meeting held virtually on Nov. 17. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Yukon Chamber of Mines elects new board

The Yukon Chamber of Mines elected a new board of directors during… Continue reading

The Yukon Hospital Corporation has released its annual report for 2019-20, and — unsurprisingly — hospital visitations were down. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Annual report says COVID-19 had a large impact visitation numbers at Whitehorse General

The Yukon Hospital Corporation has released its annual report for 2019-20, and… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Most Read