|There is something about a Snailhouse tribute that just seems right. It is autumn as I write this. The wind is fierce today and the trees are rapidly losing their leaves. All over the country, this country anyway, people are unpacking boxes of sweaters. They're shaking them out, and pulling them on over their heads. And these sweaters are as familiar and comfortable as they are comforting. Just like the songs on this CD. And the timing of this tribute couldn't be any better, either: close on the heels of a new full-length release that will most definitely propel Snailhouse into an even wider spotlight.
Snailhouse began life in a diner, the name uttered almost as a joke. Snailhouse also began life in a bedroom somewhere in Canada. It could also be said that Snailhouse began life in a punk band in New Brunswick, in a pop band in Quebec, and in an indie rock band in Ontario. In all of these places, and in all of these experiences, Snailhouse was born. And from very early on, Snailhouse, aka Michael K. Feuerstack, played and performed as if he’d been doing it all his life. From the first full-length release in 1994 (Fine), Feuerstack was writing great songs that belied his relative youth.
Sonically, Snailhouse songs can seem deceptively straightforward. Though it is no secret Feuerstack is an accomplished musician. His guitar playing is elegantly understated; he never wastes a single note. Lyrically, too, the songs are pared down like a poem or a Raymond Carver story: all that is there is all that you need. From that first listen, you can enjoy a Snailhouse song as nothing less than a great pop song; it is only later, after another listen, after a few listens, that the layers start peeling away, and the song opens up in an almost surprising way. And you can then maybe catch a glimpse of how the pieces have fit together so seamlessly to form a cohesive gem.
The 12 songs chosen here by the contributors move from the first Snailhouse release, Fine (1994), through The Radio Dances (1998), A New Tradition, 2001 and The Opposite is Also True (both 2001), and finally, The Silence Show (2005). The amazing and disparate interpretations show us how an accomplished song moves out of the songwriter’s home and into the world, creating a life of its own. Winter is coming. Snow will be falling soon, if it hasn’t already. These are beautiful songs, beautifully rendered and made new, again.
Ian Roy, 2007
The songs of Snailhouse aka Michael Feuerstack have been an inspiration to a generation of songwriters. Sappy Records asked a variety of friends and fans to contribute interpretations of their favorite Snailhouse songs. The result is fourteen tracks selected from Feuerstack’s five albums that range from mellow folk to electronica to crisp indie rock.
1. John Tielli - Do You Want to Talk All Night?
2. Maritime - Witches and Snowmen
3. Aaron Booth - California is Always Waiting
4. Moon Socket - Radio
5. Rick White - Birds and Bees
6. Sarah Hallman - Repetition
7. The Acorn - Bell
8. Shotgun Jimmie - 21 Years
9. The Just Barelys - Plans
10. Ron Bates - Accidental Seabirds
11. Anglers Arms - Chimney Sweep
12. Vailhalen - God Created Monsters
13. Paperweight - The Silence Show
14. Colonial Quarrels - Do You Want to Talk All Night?