Snake River began as a home for singer/multi-instrumentalist, Christopher Sleightholm (The Lonesome Weekends) to release his homespun psychedelic-leaning recordings.
Snake River’s debut album Songs No One’ll Hear (2012) enjoyed a great deal of airplay on Canadian campus radio, reaching #5 on Saskatoon’s CFCR.
After a jaunt of western Canada as a touring member of The Besnard Lakes side-project, The Soft Province, Sleightholm decided to expand Snake River and asked members of the band to perform with him. In came veterans Michael Gardiner (founding member of The Besnard Lakes), John De Gennaro (Geronimo, ex-Despistado), Dustin Gammracy (Spoils), and later augmented by Whistlin Jeff M.
Snake River’s sophomore release McKruski (13th Ave Records) takes the folkier side of the debut recording and cloaks it in more reverb and fuzzed- out guitar. McKruski isn’t exactly a change in direction, but the songs ended up requiring certain sounds and instrumentation to get the melodic ideas across. Sleightholm had many of his ideas for the songs down before recruiting the live band, but rather than having the fellows play on the album, he opted to perform and record everything himself to hold the songs close and re-explore them throughout the recording process.
The album’s eight songs draw inspiration from the fictional town of Snake River Mountain: A town inhabited by normal people – normal people who do strange things. They have dreams and see visions, and argue with their loved ones.
“Hours I” picks up where Songs No One’ll Hear ended with a clean, twangy Telecaster guitar line – before bursting into sonic new territory. The songs “Hours I” & “Hours II” are sister pieces and are melodically and thematically linked – alluding to some ambiguous lost love and the things that the narrator maybe did, or didn’t do, which pushed the person who loved them away. “Nothing’s Coming To You” concludes with guitar tracks recorded on an iPhone, before they swirl into a krautrock-inspired programmed bit, which Sleightholm says is, “what a raging barn party might sound like from across a field.” And McKruski culminates with the 11-minute epic “Mr. McKruski Addresses the Crowd”, where fictional author Reginald McKruski loses his mind in front of his peers at a town hall meeting.
“Somewhere in the blend between country and folk scene mainstays and post- hardcore regulars, they found a sweet spot of intensely heavy psychedelics that didn’t lose any of Sleightholm’s solid songwriting in the transition.” – Mckruski Vinyl Release Concert Review, James Brotheridge, Exclaim.ca
“McKruski is a deeply satisfying, idiosyncratic and thoughtful album that’s equal parts rock and folk, shoegaze and psychedelia — all delivered with a gentle western influence.” - Amber Goodwyn, Prairie Dog Magazine
“...’He Still Dreams Of You’ is, for me, the standout tune. Its guitar parts echo the wails of long-lost loves while the vocals of Sleightholm haunt the listener.” - John Kapp, The Carillon
Christopher Sleightolm -- vocals, guitars, keys
John De Genarro -- guitars
Whistlin' Jeff M -- bass, whistles
Dustin Gammracy -- drums