I think you should pick up The Ship by Pete Dubuc. Here’s Pete giving background about the album and also performing “The Ship” on Private Stage. Let me tell you how I came to learn about this beautiful music.
Pete Dubuc sent me a Facebook message back in May:
I wind up on your blog on a semi regular basis and would like to send you some music! I have a solo CD coming out this month and I’d send along something from my band Gunther Brown as well. Let me know where I can send it and I’ll get it out right quick!
Two shiny CDs showed up in the mail a few days after I replied—Pete’s solo The Ship and Gunther Brown’s self-titled CD. Pete wrote an important note about The Ship in the jacket that I’ll include so you know why the album was created. It reads:
On Tuesday, January 24th, 2012, my mother suffered a major stroke and passed away. She was seemingly in great health, an active hiker and snowshoer. This was just days before ‘the plan’ had my friends and I recording a new Gunther Brown album. Plans change. The day after she passed, I wrote a song in her memory (The Ship) and thought it important that I keep the studio time and record this song for her. The time in the studio would result in these 7 songs which I am releasing as a way to raise money for the American Cancer Society. While Mom was taken by a stroke, the doctors told us that it was brought on by a large tumor on her brain. Her mother – my grandmother – was taken by cancer at the early age of 65. So, now here I am, looking at a pretty legit family history of cancer. It’s everywhere. It affects everyone. I hope, in this small way, to help. Thanks for buying this music and helping this cause.
I absolutely loved “The Ship”—it opens with a lovely lyric “Now the ship has sailed/Now the ship has sailed/To some other beautiful harbor/To other port in the storm.” It’s a really heartfelt and beautiful tribute to Pete’s mom, Linda. I also liked “If You Don’t Ask.” The whole album makes good use of electric guitar, too—it’s emotive and has its own voice. The Ship is striking in its simplicity and very powerful. Here’s a rave review of The Ship in The Portland Press Herald. The Gunther Brown CD is really good, too—I like Pete’s raspy but clear voice and the songwriting. I especially like the song “Maryanne,” that has the very sweet lyric “There hasn’t been a place that wasn’t home/When you’ve got a hold of my hand.” Now that I’ve heard the albums, I definitely want to see Pete live.
Since I liked the CDs so much I was pretty pumped that someone who makes music so in tune with what I like sent me their stuff to listen to. Other acts and managers have gotten in touch with me to see if I’d review albums on my blog, and I’ve replied that I don’t have time to do that (and I don’t). If you’d like me to hear your music, I’d love to be on the guest list for a live show sometime. So, this is not an album review—it’s an album mention. I sent Pete a message a week or so after the CDs came in the mail. If you’re someone (like me), who likes to know about artists and their music, read on:
Hi, Pete–I wanted to wait to get in touch with you until after I’d listened. I love your stuff. I especially love The Ship–the whole thing. It’s lovely, and quite a tribute to your mom. I’m so sorry to hear about your loss. Would it be okay with you if I mentioned our interaction and your music on my blog in the next few weeks? If so, I’d love to know a few more things:
1. Can you tell me about yourself/Gunther Brown?
2. What’s your songwriting process like?
3. How can people get your music? (Especially The Ship, since it’s for a good cause!)
4. When did the Gunther Brown CD come out? (It is also titled “Gunther Brown”?)
5. Where can folks check out a live Pete Dubuc/Gunther Brown show?
6. Want to put me on your guest list sometime!? I’d love to do a full review!
Here’s Pete’s reply:
Hey, Bree. So here’s a proper response!
Gunther Brown has been around for almost 5 years in various forms. For most of the time we were a five piece band but then for the last year and a half or so, it was a totally acoustic duo with just me and a mandolin player. Right now, we’re a three piece band with myself playing acoustic guitar and singing, Derek Mills playing drums and Chris Plumstead playing electric guitar.
We haven’t been playing any shows for a little bit as we get the new guy, Chris, up to speed on the songs. We’re headed up to play the Arootsakoostik festival next Saturday and the night before we’re playing an in store set at KMH Music in Presque Isle. That will be our first time out in the current lineup. We’re doing some charity stuff coming up – August 23rd a benefit for a community food program in South Portland and September 29th we’re doing a WCLZ event in Brunswick also for a hunger prevention program. I expect in September we’ll start adding in some club type shows as well.
About the music, I’ve always written all the songs. I get them done and then take them to the band and everyone pretty much works out their own parts. I only write when I have something to write. I don’t TRY to write songs, I don’t schedule time to write. If a song is coming it’s just going to happen. If I try, I wind up with something that never gets finished and that I don’t like very much. The songs I like the most are the ones that just happen and usually pretty quickly. I really feel like songs write themselves, they just have to tell someone when they’re ready to come out.
All of my music, Gunther Brown and solo, is on iTunes and Amazon and all that as well as Spotify and MOG for streaming. The Ship is also available at Bull Moose. I did The Ship as a solo album because that song was so personal and with the money going to the American Cancer Society it just felt like it should be something different. Also, since we recorded it less than a week after my mom died, I wasn’t sure how it was even going to come out so I wanted to make it its own thing.
If there’s anything more I can offer, let me know. I’ll be keeping up on your (less frequent) blog since you go see all the same music I dig. Just read the Kathleen Edwards one. I love her and was so pumped that she came back to town. I also saw the show in 2003 that you mentioned. I was working for WCLZ at the time and we put that show together. She was too wasted to come out with us after but I did get to hang with Crash Test Dummies in their room till about 3am. One of the best nights ever for me!
Ok, ok, another story, another time!
My response to Pete:
Thanks for this, Pete! I almost mentioned in my post about KE that she was totally wasted on stage in 2003, but decided to be nice! I’ll alert you when this gets posted! I’m hoping in the next two weeks.
And now it’s a barely a month later. Not bad!
Here’s Pete’s performance of “(Don’t Forget To) Don’t Go” on Private Stage. I absolutely love this song and got it for free on the 2012 Arootsakoostik Music Festival sampler that I learned about on Maine Music’s Facebook page. I really want to see Pete live with Gunther Brown ASAP. They are right up my alley. Check them out and consider supporting the American Cancer Society by buying The Ship. You will not be disappointed.