Listeners quickly realize, as soon as they’ve heard ‘East of West’, that House of Doc wants to revamp Folk music.
They begin by putting their best foot forward in the form of superb 4-part vocals. But dazzling instrumental capabilities covering everything from drums to piccolo, with a few detours along the way to places such as bass recorder & bassoon makes it apparent that House of Doc is so much more than just a singing group.
Their 2005 effort was named ‘Prairiegrass’ – a tip of the hat to the band’s Bluegrass background, but with ‘East of West’, the group’s third CD, they have pulled out the stops and removed all firewalls. House of Doc’s musical imagination hits a new stride; and though the touchstones of Bluegrass & Gospel are still visited they are reinvented and energized. Stylistic limitations have gone the way of the Do-Do.
From stripped-down, a cappella ‘Simple Times’, recorded in one pristine take, to the unapologetically epic ‘Summerstone’, replete with full orchestra (performed entirely by House of Doc) ‘East of West’ a very rich & deep collection of songs about family, love, loss & life. Included also is a timely and vibrant cover of ‘Sweet City Woman’, originally recorded by the Stampeders in 1971 — ripe for a revisit and sounding new again.
Produced by Vince R. Ditrich (Spirit of the West) and recorded at the old and rambling ‘Bath House’ belonging to The Tragically Hip, the month-long residential session brought out the very best in House of Doc and steeped their recordings with a mood & atmosphere that makes itself felt from the very first notes.
Husband & wife Matthew & Rebecca Harder, brother Dan Wiebe, and Jesse Krause take their incredible show on the road in October 2007.