ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED BY THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 13, 2003
By Steve Newton
Wire & Wood, the latest CD by New Brunswick blues-rockers Glamour Puss, features a photo of guitarist-vocalist Travis Furlong’s 1979 Gibson ES-347 laid out on a bar. If you look closely, you can see that it has been signed by such legendary pickers as Les Paul and B. B. King.
From his home in Moncton, Furlong reveals that the instrument also sports the signatures of bluesmen Little Milton, Lonnie Brooks, and Johnnie Johnson. But when asked whose John Henry he’d be most thrilled to add to the collection, the Maritimer doesn’t grasp for rock biggies like Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page.
He’d be much happier landing the autograph of 87-year-old Delta bluesman David “Honeyboy” Edwards.
“I met him at the Montreal jazz-and-blues festival,” Furlong says, “and I had him sign my pass. I didn’t get him to sign the guitar at the time, but that would be cool. There’s a lot of guys from the younger part of that first generation of bluesmen, like Henry Townsend, and I think Homesick James is still goin’. Robert Lockwood Jr. would be another one. Getting some of those guys would be really neat.”
Furlong used his famously inscribed ES-347 extensively on Wire & Wood, as well as a Fender Strat customized with David Gilmour–style electronics. Although the rootsy sounds of the unfortunately named Glamour Puss are worlds away from the spacy prog-rock Gilmour’s noted for, Furlong contends that he’s a Pink Floyd fan from way back. You can bet he’d reserve a spot on that Gibson for Gilmour’s scribble.
“He’s, like, the bluesiest rock-guitar player out there,” Furlong raves.
Inspired by the guitar-playing abilities of octogenarian bluesmen and middle-aged rockers alike, Furlong uses his own string-bending talents to fine effect on Wire & Wood. He wrote six of the CD’s 15 songs, including the down-home, jammin’-on-the-porch title track and the solo instrumental “Blues for Sheila”, which he penned for his wife since he’s “an endless source of blues for her”.
The album was sharply produced by Michael Jerome Wood and hasn’t gone unnoticed by the nation’s blues cognoscenti. In September, GP received the coveted Dutch Mason Award, and it was recently nominated for three Maple Blues Awards, the top prize for blues acts in Canada.
“Actually, our producer is up for an award, too,” Furlong adds, “so we kinda count that as the fourth one.”
As local roots-music fans can discover for themselves when Glamour Puss plays the Yale tonight (Thursday [November 13]), the quintet’s rollicking sound is steeped in the traditional music of the East Coast. One listen to Wire & Wood’s accordion-driven closer, “Maman Connaît Pas le Zydeco”, confirms that.
“Here in New Brunswick we’re right at the root of Cajun music,” Furlong notes, “all stemming from Acadian music. And then you put blues and Cajun together and you get zydeco. It’s got a really good groove to it, and as long as it’s got a good groove, people like to move with it.”