He’s a hotshot guitar wiz who joined Sarah McLachlan‘s band as a 19-year-old, then launched a Juno-nominated solo career as a roots singer-songwriter. She’s an Americana musician who released her first album in 2001, kicking off a career that’s since included collaborations with Ron Sexsmith and gigs on the rebooted Lilith Fair tour.
Together, Luke Doucet and Melissa McClelland have formed Whitehorse, a Canadian superduo whose music swirls together the swampy swagger of the Bible Belt, the minor-key melancholy of film noir soundtracks and the raw stomp of rock & roll.
On the group’s newest album, Leave No Bridge Unburned, the married musicians turn up the noise and the heat, carving out a sound that’s louder and more lush than the pair’s last studio release, The Fate of the World Depends on This Kiss, which racked up a Polaris Music Prize nomination in 2013. This time, their influences run the gamut from spaghetti soundtracks to Bo Diddley‘s signature beat, which serves as the foundation for the song “Downtown.” [Watch the video for the song above.]
“There’s a long line of great rock & roll songs that have employed the beat made famous in 1955 by Mr. Bo Diddley,” says Doucet, “the obvious ones being Bo Diddley’s ‘Bo Diddley’ and ‘Who do You Love,’ the Supremes’ ‘You Can’t Hurry Love,’ Iggy & the Stooges’ ‘Lust for Life,’ Tom Petty’s ‘American Girl’ and the Strokes’ ‘Last Night.’ But there are many others.”
“This song riffs a bit on the adventure of urban living,” adds McCelland, who worked with Doucet on several solo albums before the two tied the knot in 2006. “In the last five years, we’ve lived in Nashville, New York, Toronto and Hamilton, Ontario, although as touring musicians, we jump constantly from city to city. We often think we see all that there is to see, but most of our work is urban — and especially in America, a large portion of the population lives rurally. There is still much exploring to be done.”
Whitehorse will spend most of the spring “exploring” with a North American tour that stretches from February 21st to May 29th.