Winnipeg’s Whitehorse finds her voice in 1970s country music


The band are touring Western Canada with a scheduled stop at the Arden Theater on October 1

For more than a decade, the award-winning husband and wife duo behind Whitehorse were lone writers. Luke Doucet and Melissa McClelland would retreat to different corners of the house to work on a song, humming, strumming and perfecting every chord.

After 20 years of playing together, the mandatory COVID lockdown has realigned their marital and creative partnership in a liberating way for both. They sat together and wrote enough material for four albums. The prolific couple released modern love and shoot me down in 2021 while I don’t cry, you cry has a scheduled release date of January 13, 2023.

Now on a 13-stop tour of Canada’s four western provinces, Whitehorse will share its extensive musical catalog at the Arden Theater on Saturday, October 1.

Throughout Whitehorse’s eight studio albums, they proclaimed deep Canadian roots and sang songs about people, places and events important to them.

modern love is an album full of warm tones, love and commitment, while its sequel, shoot me downexplores bitter themes of relationship ultimatums and consequences.

modern love was the first record ever written as it should be – with candles, bottles of wine and two acoustic guitars,” Doucet said. “We wrote the songs together, and it’s very personal because it’s the most respondent. It was romantic. Our alter egos are in love and heartbroken, and we’ve written about the things couples go through.

Despite the couple’s satisfaction from this intimate exploration of romance, the record was difficult to market. Their label, Six Shooter, was asking for something more commercial with a bouncy tempo. The result was more explosive shoot me down.

“This album has a dark and dystopian theme and is a counterpoint to modern love. modern love was sweet. shoot me down was aggressive and punchy.

Doucet explains that Whitehorse’s musical style is ubiquitous and difficult to market. Critics’ descriptions range from roots, folk, alt-country, and roots-rock to folk-pop, bluegrass, R&B, and blues.

Unlike previous albums, the next I don’t cry, you cry leans into the twangy guitars of 1970s country music. The 12 songs on the record are about “heartbreak and loyalty, getting over it and going crazy, and shaking things up and falling back”.

Doucet grew up listening to the voices of Emmylou Harris, Dolly Parton, Anne Murray, Willie Nelson, Tom Petty and Paul Simon.

“I love the 70s era. You would cram people into a room and record tracks together. It wasn’t perfect and that’s why it was so beautiful. It was understood that you would only record what you could play and sing. Technology has advanced so much that you don’t have to be good at it. Your computer can fix it.

Doucet contacted Canadian record producer Brian Ahern, an acclaimed Canadian country music producer who was a key figure in the careers of Emmylou Harris and Anne Murray. He has produced over 40 gold and platinum records for Johnny Cash, George Jones, Rodney Crowell, Roy Orbison and Willie Nelson. Ahern’s trophy case also includes four Juno Awards and a Grammy Award.

Whitehorse has already released two singles from I’m not crying. There is the soft, guided by the guitar Division 5, the story of a man trying to find his lost love with the help of the RCMP. And the infused pedalboard Leave me as you found me was sparked by Dan Savage, a sex advice columnist who recommends if you’re dating someone younger, leave them better than you found them.

“When we come to Arden, Melissa and I will have a planned set list and we’ll have a section called Bluegrass. The band leaves the stage and it’s just Melissa and I around the mic and it’s very intimate. We’ll have a lot of stories and jokes, and I’ll make a lot of noise on my guitar, which I enjoy.

The concert will take place October 1 at 7:30 p.m. at the Arden Theater, 5 St. Anne St. Tickets are $50. Call 780-459-1542 or online at


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