Rattlesnake Choir Live Music

This combo is the brainchild of John Borra, long one of Toronto’s busiest and most respected players. They formed two years ago to play a residency at a T.O. watering hole and this debut disc is a satisfying outing. Singer-songwriter Borra is joined by long-time sideman Sam Ferrara (the Ugly, Viletones, Screamin’ Sam), bassist Tony Benattar and violinist Miranda Mulholland, with some vocal and instrumental contributions from Treasa Levasseur. The sparse feel keeps the emphasis on Borra’s convincingly earthy vocals and songs, and the recording process (live to two-track and tape) adds to the warm and intimate ambience. Ferrara wrote the engaging "Caroline” and the Choir cover songs by local honky-tonk heroes Handsome Ned (the classic "I’ve Come To Get My Baby Out Of Jail”) and the Sadies (the instrumental "Lay Down Your Arms”). Such song selections show their heart is in the right place, and Borra’s own writing is equally strong. This is a disc worthy of exposure beyond the Toronto roots scene. (Cousin Jeb)