The Schomberg Fair Dark Was The Night, Cold Was The Ground

Those expecting the title track of this Toronto trio’s debut full-length to be a new version of the Blind Willie Johnson slide guitar masterpiece it was named after should be fairly warned. The group only uses it, as well as other traditional pieces, as the basis for their own original material, an unusual mix of punk and old time gospel and blues punctuated by deep bass vocals that are either intended to be a humorous gimmick or deliberately offensive, depending on your sensibilities. It’s too bad, since the Schomberg Fair do have a lot to offer with their raw, high-energy approach, and can obviously write a memorable song, as evidenced by "Map Of The World” and "Some Things Never Change.” However, with those bass vocals being such a distraction, it leaves only hints of what this band could, and should, accomplish in time. Fans of the Sadies should at least be aware of them. (Independent)