Mercy or Sin
Gordie Tentrees hails from the Yukon Territory in northern Canada, and his songs possess that slight difference of tone that makes some Canadian artists stick out from the crowd of their U.S. peers. It will surprise no one that he and his band have toured with Fred Eaglesmith, but Tentrees is far from being an Eaglesmith clone.
His gritty songs bear the stamp of personal experience – the less heart-wrenching is “Hey Mama”, telling of a single mother and her struggles to raise him and his three siblings, but that’s nothing compared with “Traveling Song Man”, the story of how his partner left him for another man while he was on tour. And then there’s “Daylight”, dedicated to “my family who fight the ebb and flow of mental illness and all that comes with it.”
But before everyone slits their wrists in despair, this is a beautiful album, the heavy ballads balanced with love songs and upbeat numbers. The title track, written and performed with Jennie Sosnowski, is a tale of love across the expanses of Canada’s mountains and prairies that will lighten any heart.
Mercy or Sin is Tentrees’ third album. Along with band members Matt King and Ken Hermanson, he has made a slow but sure reputation for himself with heavy touring. Following an appearance in a showcase of Canadian music at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, he’s embarking on a 180-show tour in support of the new album, including dates in the UK later in the year.