Three guys named Gord will make Nanaimo their third stop on their western Canada tour.
The Gords – Gord Matthews, Gord Maxwell and Gordon Lee Worden – who describe themselves as an adult contemporary, folk-based, vocal trio are performing at Simon Holt Friday (Aug. 30).
That description might be a tad modest. “Adult” in this case really means there’s a tremendous depth to their vocal harmonies and guitar instrumentals distilled from a long and successful history in the music business dating back three decades and that has produced some incredible bios on the band’s website.
Mathews and Maxwell appeared on four Ian Tyson albums recorded between 1998 and 2008. Maxwell and Warden are still touring and recording with Tyson.
Matthews was a member of KD Lang and the Reclines – for those who remember Lang’s evolution from country punk to the smooth classic country swing style that characterized Absolute Torch and Twang – from 1983-90. Matthews has appeared on David Letterman, Saturday Night Live twice, Austin City Limits, the 1990 Grammy Awards and five times on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.
Maxwell was lead singer and bassist in One Horse Blue and wrote the songs Colour of Lover, Baby Don’t Cry and Hopeless Love, which became to the first independent single to reach the number one spot in Canada.
Worden’s career goes back to the days of Sweeny Todd and Nick Gilder back in the early 1980s. His resume also lists work with Sue Medley, Mike Reno, Barney Bentall, Brad Johner and Lisa Brokop.
The Gords formed out of three coincidences. They all have the same first name and all played with Ian Tyson, whose period of difficulty with his voice left a lull in their work schedules.
“So we said, come on let’s make a band,” Worden said. “So, we had all these elaborate plans because Gord Matthews lives in Edmonton and Gord Maxwell lives in Coquitlam and I live in Oregon, so we were thinking everything was going to be great. We were getting all excited, but then there was that moment when we actually met in Maxwell’s basement and we starting singing that we really knew we had something worth fighting for because our voices just naturally blended so well and you can’t manufacture that with Auto-Tune and all those gadgets. It either blends or it doesn’t.”
Their western Canada tour will help promote Pick, the album that came out of that meeting and ongoing collaboration.
“It’s a year old,” said Worden. “We haven’t really played all that much so it’s still fresh for us.”
Worden plays guitar and all the keyboards on Pick.
“We were trying for a Crosby, Stills and Nash or The Eagles kind of sound, but basically we just wanted to make songs that we really wanted to play live, so if it sounds retro it’s because we’re retro, baby,” Worden said.
Sort of, but their sound is uniquely their own. Combined with Matthews lead guitar style – silky country licks, blended with a jazz flavour a bit reminiscent of Lee Ritenour – contributes to a recipe for a smooth, more contemporary sound.
“He’s really exciting to me because we both sort of play lead guitar, but we can’t play each other’s licks at all,” Worden. “Matthews, with KD Lang and that, was in on the ground floor of that new western kind of movement (country punk) and I played in a punk band – the first recorded punk band on Vancouver Island, apparently – called The Mix.”
Since all of The Gords are song writers they had plenty of material to lay down on Pick.
“We’ve actually got a lot of material for future projects,” Worden said.
Those projects will have to wait now that surgery has restored Tyson’s voice.
“Now he’s busier than ever, so it’s really hard to book Gords gigs because Ian keeps booking us up,” Worden said.
The Gords take to the stage at Simon Holt at 8 p.m.
Tickets are available at Fascinating Rhythm, by calling 250-716-9997.
For learn more about The Gords and their western Canada tour schedule, please visit the band’s website at www.thegords.com.