Lush, epic and surrounded by mystic beauty, Bouquet of Might and Fury, the third album by Courtney Wing, reveals a strong sensitivity towards the human condition and an extraordinary portrayal of musician and his devotion to his art. Available in digital format on February 15th on Proxenett Records, Bouquet of Might and Fury unleashes a musical universe of communion in which many of the artist’s opposing sides emerge in tender force.
After the release of two albums, (For The Good Times, 2001 & Starlight Shuffle, 2005) Courtney Wing found himself discouraged by the music industry and the deep roots it had in his surrounding. In the midst of his low, the CBC contacted Wing and invited him to perform for the program Canada Live during the summer of 2008. Thrilled by the offer, Courtney dedicated himself to the project, recruiting a new cast of musicians, including Sage Reynolds on double bass (Amon Tobin), Bruce Cawdron on percussion (Godspeed! You Black Emperor), Stef Schneider on drums (Bell Orchestre), and a 15-piece opera collective called Liederwolfe. Amazed by the recorded result of Wing’s performance, the producers of Canada Live chose to feature his performance on CBC’s homepage and broadcast the entire recording across the country on numerous occasions. High appraise and national buzz followed immediately. In response, Wing decided to compromise his initial plan to record a solo record and instead embraced his newly acquired team and tackled a much larger production. The end result is a ‘symphonic folk’ masterpiece that embodies the creative forces of over 30 musicians.
Bouquet of Might and Fury invites the listener into an extraordinary indie-folk universe where a mighty barrage of choral Opera singers lilt amidst a larger-than-life, yet perfectly sculpted, orchestral background that is at times gentle, and other times fierce and grand. The title of the album and most of the lyrics refer to the concept of contrast. It visit’s the notions of social disillusionment, the perils of kindness, calm over devastation, and most true to the album’s premise is the notion of love, and the rise and fall of it – a theme that played itself out during Wing’s song crafting process. Courtney tells us “ When something negative happens, inevitably something positive emerges. We are not always aware of it, but balance tends to plays itself out.”
Adept instrumentation and a strong and resonant vocal style backed by an 11-piece ‘operatic folk’ ensemble characterizes Wing’s current work.
His group consists of members from Bell Orchestre, Godspeed! You Black Emperor, as well as a 10-piece opera collective called Liederwolfe. Together, this dynamic group contributes to Wing’s compositions with symphonic textures so rich they melt even the most bitter-struck hearts.
Since the group’s formation in 2009, Wing accepted an invitation by the CBC to play an exclusive performance for an intimate audience at a local Montreal studio. The show would be recorded and featured on the home page of CBC Radio 2’s ‘Concerts on Demand’ and aired across the country on CBC’s ‘Canada Live’.
Following their national radio debut, Wing played the NXNE conference by with a triumphant showcase where the group not only played to a packed house but also graced the cover of NOW Magazine and received the critic’s choice nomination for ‘bands not to be missed’. Wing and company have since been granted artist feature articles in Chart Attack, the NY Times, the Montreal Voir, Montreal Mirror, Toronto NOW, Vancouver Sun, and the National Post to name a few. Such high appraise has launched Wing straight to the forefront of most talked about acts on the Canadian music scene.
A brief look into the past ….
Raised in a multi-cultural family (born to a Chinese Father and Russian and Icelandic Mother), Courtney’s first musical experiences ranged from playing traditional Chinese percussion for kung fu demonstrations to singing and dancing with members of the local Icelandic folk community. Wing continued to develop his musical education in his early twenties by traveling to Belize where he played in a reggae band and to the South of France where he learned and played flamenco in a busking dance group. Lorraine Carpenter of Exclaim Magazine describes Courtney as a “nomadic singer-songwriter who has gathered a pocketful of local color at every stop.”
Since the beginning of his professional career, Wing has completed three albums – ‘For the Good Times’ (2001) and ‘Starlight Shuffle’ (2005 – Maple Music), ‘Bouquet of Might & Fury’ (2010 – Proxenett) and has performed at such renown festivals as Osheaga, the International Montreal Jazz Festival, Pop Montreal, SXSW, NXNE, the North American Folk Alliance, New Music West, The Indie Arts Festival, The Freedom Festival at the Forks, The Montreal Chamber Music Festival, CMJ in New York, and The Edge of the World Festival to name a few, and has performed extensively across Canada and the U.S. He has composed or licensed music for HBO, Ubisoft, Eidos, Alliance, KRAFT, Fubar 2, CBC, Bravo, and the NFB to name a few.
With a ten-piece chorus and half a symphony behind him, Montreal musician Courtney Wing has created an album that dazzles with its ambition and opulence. The clamour of Bouquet of Might and Fury's operatic folk pop is a serious departure from Wing's sophomore release, 2005's folky, jazzy Starlight Shuffle. For his third album, Wing put together a 15-member ensemble that includes an opera collective called Liederwolfe, as well as members of Belle Orchestre and Godspeed! You Black Emperor. But despite the grand spectacle of breathtaking opening track "The Cruel of Fair," Wing shows himself still capable of whimsy, with bells, noodling synth and loosey goosey horn lines cutting through the grandeur on later numbers such as "Bluffing Face." Wing's melodies occasionally get lost in the symphonic tangle, but even when his songs lose the plot, the sprawling, cinematic arrangements are vivid enough to carry the album through to its final twinkling notes.